With their combined artistry and business acumen, Six Nations twins Dakota and Jesse Brant are racking up the business awards for their thriving Six Nations jewellery enterprise, Sapling and Flint.
For the first time in award history, the Brant sisters were chosen as dual recipients of CCAB Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur Award (Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business).
The dual recipients of the 2022 Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur Award hail from Six Nations.
The Mohawk, Turtle Clan women are co-founders of Sapling & Flint; a jewellery manufacturer specializing in gold and sterling silver. Jesse is a goldsmith, wampum cutter and member of the Canadian Jewellers Association. Dakota is a regalia maker and visual artist with a background in small business management.
“Together their talents are the perfect combination and recipe for success,” the CCAB said in a press release. “By using e-commerce to create arts-based jobs for themselves and their community, they have helped raise the profile of national Indigenous art.”
Sapling and Flint was founded in 2017 to create conversation pieces that share the story of Turtle Island.
“For the first time in CCAB history, the Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur Award is shared among twin sisters with an extraordinary story as co-founding entrepreneurs with complementary talents,” said President and CEO, Tabatha Bull. “We couldn’t be happier to present this award to these two deserving and impressive Indigenous women who are setting an example for young enterprising hopefuls.”
The Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur Award recognizes the hard work of Indigenous business leaders under the age of 35 and honours impressive young entrepreneurs who are driving the Indigenous economy forward. This CCAB award comes with a $10,000 prize to benefit the business.
This is not the first time the Brant sisters have been acknowledged for their dedication and hard work. Previously, they have received the CHCH TV Business Excellence Award (2018). Also in 2018, they took the top prize at PowWow Pitch and in 2019, selected from over 5000 entries, they received Paypal Canada’s Small Business makeover contest. In 2020, they were recognized for lobbying for equitable access to internet and opportunity in Indigenous communities and were bestowed with the Athlohsa Peace Award.
Their story has appeared in national media including Maclean’s magazine, the Globe and Mail, TrailBlazer magazine, the Toronto Star and more.
“Jesse and I went into business with three goals,” said Dakota. “First would be to use e-commerce and wholesale to create jobs in our home village of Ohswé:ken. Second was to raise the profile of authentic Indigenous art and lastly, to bring our products nationwide. We are so honoured CCAB recognizes us with this national award and that the jury has seen our passion, drive, and want to share in our vision by recognizing us with this award. Nyá:wen from the bottom of our hearts.”
Sapling and Flint, based in Iroquois Village Plaza in Ohsweken, continues to grow, creating job opportunities that are revitalizing traditional silversmithing in Ohswé:ken (Six Nations of the Grand River Territory), bringing quality products to the Canadian market and positioning Dakota and Jesse Brant as successful Indigenous women entrepreneurs in the Canadian jewellery industry.
They also have an online presence and use social media to promote the business, with over 18,000 followers on Instagram, a Website that allows for online orders.
“ESS is proud to sponsor the Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur Award; I congratulate Dakota and Jesse Brant for raising the profile of authentic Indigenous art, fashion & design,” said Sanjay Gomes, president, ESS Support Services Worldwide. “Their hard work and dedication are an inspiration for other Indigenous women. The future looks bright for Sapling and Flint.”
Their pieces are unique, one-of-a-kind conversation pieces that often feature important Haudenosaunee imagery.
Sapling and Flint also produces custom-made jewellery for the discerning buyer.
The Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur Award will be presented during CCAB’s Central Canada Business Forum on February 24, 2022.