Becoming a teacher was always a dream for Marie, but often felt impossible when she was growing up.
“I’m the first-generation post-secondary graduate in our family,” said Marie.
She was raised by a single parent, and as a child often thought that post-secondary school was out of reach. After being encouraged by a high school teacher, Marie realized that going to university was not impossible, but a realistic opportunity and applied to the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP) at USask.
One of her favourite places on campus was the SUNTEP building, “It was such a safe space and we knew everybody there. We saw pieces and pictures of our culture around and it felt warm,” said Marie.
She finished her Bachelor of Education degree with honours and majoring in Home Economics and Native Studies.
After graduating, Marie taught for three years before starting her family. She used her Home Ec. knowledge and sewed blankets and bibs made from Indigenous prints for her sons.
Once her children had grown out of the homemade baby products, Marie sold them on Facebook Marketplace, where she saw a demand for Indigenous-branded baby products. This gave her the idea to put her two teaching areas together in a new way and created the e-commerce shop, Awasis Boutique.
Since launching the business in February 2018, Awasis Boutique has expanded its product lines and now sells clothing for babies, children, and adults. Marie has collaborated with USask on notable projects, including creating custom designs for Shop USask and custom shirts and decals for USask Huskies for Orange Shirt Day.
Marie dedicates the success of her business to a healthy balance between her work and personal life. In addition to advocating for self-care and being gentle with yourself as a business owner, Marie shared some advice for fellow entrepreneurs, “Always be open to learning and growing, because you just never know how quickly life can change.”
It's the People of USask who enable us to be what the world needs.