A Non-Profit Organization Serving First Nations Artisans
[Article written in collaboration with Marie Hanquez, Social Economy Advisor]
Founded in 1974, Les Artisans indiens du Québec is a non-profit organization which specializes in the sale of raw materials for arts and craft. For nearly 50 years, the corporation has been providing Aboriginal artisans from Quebec and all over Canada the raw materials needed to create their craft items. Following is a picture of one of the oldest Aboriginal non-profit organizations in Quebec.
For many First Nations people of Quebec passing by the Quebec City region, it’s only natural to stop at Les Artisans indiens du Québec shop in Wendake. In fact, this is where they can get various materials, such as leather, feathers, fabrics, canvas sheets for tents, wool linings for the fabrication of mittens or slippers, beads of all kinds, etc. For many craft people, entering in the shop is like entering in an Ali Baba’s cave! This is probably the reason for the huge success of this organization which was able to get through all those years, while continually renewing its product offering.
Les Artisans indiens du Québec is a NPO which employs 10 workers, including its Director General, Mr. Yves Picard. It is governed by a Board of Directors whose administrators are all First Nations members of Quebec.
The shop has a diverse range of clients. It includes both individuals and client organizations, such as schools, Native Friendship Centers, cultural centers, and many businesses. Currently, independent artisans represent close to 50% of the clientele. Les Artisans indiens du Québec also ship orders all over the country, including Yukon, Newfoundland and Labrador and other Maritime provinces.
Modernization of the organization
Four years ago, upon his hiring as Director General, part of Mr. Yves Picard’s mandate was to modernize the organization, including the establishment of an on-line shop. «Previously, everything was done manually. Customers could not pay by credit card, explains Mr. Picard. Nor did Les Artisans indiens du Québec have any logistical tool at its disposal. Still according to Mr. Picard, « we realized that it is all well and fine to conduct marketing to increase sales, but it’s essential to be well equipped to deliver ». This reasoning led to the implementation of an IT platform which helped manage inventory and orders.
Since May 2020, customers can order via Internet through the on-line shop. Eligible Aboriginal clients can order ‘tax free’, and a postal services delivery is offered. It is also possible to download the product catalog from the new Website.
Finally, to meet current customer demands and to remain relevant, new items and new product ranges are now offered.
Further information on Les Artisans indiens du Québec, we invite you to visit the bilingual Website at www.nativecraftsupplies.com and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest social networks.