Taking Passion and Turning It Into Your Livelihood
Erin Del Col picked up beading in her teens as a way to reconnect with her Haudenosaunee heritage. Seeing new and innovative beadwork on social media, Erin was inspired to learn new methods in beading which eventually led her to launch her own company!
While searching for the perfect name, her Oji-Cree friend Anita suggested Miikan which means road or path in Anishnaabemowin. As a person who spends lot of time traveling on the road with her husband and her two dogs, Erin knew this one word encompassed her whole world. Tweaking the name slightly to Miiken, Miiken Handcrafted was born.
Miiken Handcrafted specializes in contemporary handmade beaded jewellery. Using only the finest quality of Japanese glass seed beads and 14k gold finishes – every piece is joyfully handmade by Erin, who hopes to spread positive energy through her work.
“I've been taught that pieces made with good intentions and positivity will carry those feelings with them to their new homes and their new people.”
Although primarily, Miiken Handcrafted focuses on jewellery such as earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, the small business also offers beaded dog collars. Not only does it require a creative mind to flawlessly put together colours, patterns, and textures, it also requires a lot of time. To get a rough idea, it takes upwards of 2 hours to complete a pair of earrings. The most popular item, the Delilah choker takes around 8 hours and a single dog collar can take up to 12 hours depending on the size and design.
Nothing is done on a loom; Erin works meticulously to create each piece and uses landscape, art, and culture as inspiration for her colours and patterns.
“Beading is my passion as well as my livelihood and maintaining the spirit of my practice is extremely important to me.”
Determined to launch her company during a pandemic, Erin took a leave of absence from her teaching job to focus on Miiken full-time. With no previous experience in eCommerce platforms or in building a website, Erin found the process of getting started to be overwhelming. The ShopHERE program’s straightforward timeline made launching an online store simple as it was broken down into smaller tasks.
Setting a deadline to launch Miiken Handcrafted before the holidays, Erin found her eCommerce Coordinator kind, encouraging, and very knowledgeable. Since launching her online store, Erin has been able to establish a growing customer base and has reached her target sales every month since July!
“This is an incredible program that I see as a bright spot in an otherwise tumultuous year. Helping small businesses in such a way says a lot about who we are and what we value as a society.”
Support the labour of a one woman show and shop some beautiful one of a kind jewellery at miikenhandcrafted.com.
Ready to launch your business online? Work 1-on-1 with an eCommerce Coordinator to build a website from scratch. Sign up here to get started on your ShopHERE journey!
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Meta, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Lightspeed, Ebay and Canada Post.
Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.