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Sask. small business makes final list for national 'Tales of Triumph' contest

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A Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan business is one of 15 finalists in Canada Post’s Tales of Triumph contest.

Kaila Lefort, who creates and markets Indigenous beadwork jewelry, told CTV News she felt honoured to be on the list.

“It's a very vulnerable thing to submit an application about something you're so passionate about. It's your small business, right,” the Mahikan Designs owner said.

“I think it's great that Canada Post is recognizing small businesses and trying to help out as much as they can. This year, there are lots of really good contestants on the finalist panel. And I think each and every one of them would be well deserving to win.”

Lefort’s goal is to share her Indigenous culture and art with the world.

She said she sketches out every design and creates it all by hand.

“I always can picture things that I want to make,” she said, saying she often sees things online that inspire her.

“I don't copy anything. I always make things my own. But I'll take three different designs and say I like this piece of that one. I like this part of this one and this one and try and combine them all.”

One goal she has for any piece she creates is to design something that can be worn every day.

“I try to keep my pieces wearable, so they're not too large, that people feel comfortable to wear them like every day.”

She also uses unique materials in her designs.

“I do use porcupine quills and deer antlers, just cut up deer antlers on my pieces. I take the porcupine quills and I harvest those myself and I prep them. And for the deer antlers we find the antlers ourselves,” she said.

She said that beading was something she learned from her mother and sister.

“From there, I kind of just kept practicing and trying different designs,” Lefort said.

“I kind of looked online at different videos and self-taught that way too.”

While she is happy with the business, Lefort said there were still some things she’d like to improve.

“I think my beading has definitely improved, but it's not exactly where I want it to be. So there's always room for improvement. So I'm still working on it.” 

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