Jaimie Davis is the founder of Jada Creations, an Indigenous jewelry business based in Terrace, BC. Jaimie is a multi-disciplined award-winning artist and solopreneur from Gitx̱san & Nisga’a Nations.
Through her beautiful works, Jaimie is reclaiming her identity as an Indigenous woman while working to create a space where her son can grow up without ever having to question her identity.
Among the many awards earned by Jaimie in recent years, she was the inaugural winner of our Best Solopreneur Award in 2021. Ahead of our 2022 Awards, Jaimie was gracious enough to share her powerful story and her experiences in taking part in our SBBC Awards.
Throughout my life, I’ve worked multiple jobs just bouncing from industry to industry. I had a stint working in mining, I had a job in the banking industry – I was just trying to find my niche really and never really feeling fulfilled in what I did.
Prior to becoming an artist, I was a cedar weaver. I was learning as I went and started making cedar woven jewelry designs. Around this time, I had a summer contract working at the visitor info centre in the Nass Valley, I was the artist in residence there. It was through this work I started feeling that gravitational pull taking me back towards my culture. I was learning more about my culture each day as I talked to the tourists about it. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. It all just grew from there.
I applied to the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art and enrolled in their three-year program. It’s been the most incredible journey for me. It’s been healing to me, both spiritually and mentally.
Stepping on this path and becoming an artist has reconnected me to my culture, it has enabled me to find and use my voice. It’s also allowed me to find my truth and live my truth. Not only as a person, but as an Indigenous woman.
Cedar weaving is a traditional knowledge that places us here on these territories. It’s a knowledge that’s survived down through the generations despite colonization and I think it’s such a beautiful thing, a powerful thing, and a sacred thing. It’s a sacred art form for my people.
The cedar tree is known to us at the tree of life. We use every part of it in constructing our long houses, our canoes, masks and spoons, bowls – you name it. We even use it for clothing, making robes, blankets, mats and hats. Cedar is one of the four sacred medicines too.
We’re taught early on to only take what we need from the land for each season. The way we harvest the cedar bark is completely sustainable. The tree is still living and it continues to live after we’ve taken a strip from the tree. You’re able to see the history of our people in trees that have stood for hundreds of years. Sadly, with the recent logging that’s been going on, a lot of our old growth is now under threat and we stand to lose that history.
It’s been incredible. It’s opened up a whole world of resources and support to me. I’ve always been told that your network equals your net worth, and I’ve met so many amazing business owners and made so many connections. I’m so grateful to be part of this small business community and thankful to have made so many friends along the way.
It’s given me a whole new appreciation for my little community here in Terrace. It was one of my childhood friends that nominated me for the award, and it was my community that voted for me. I couldn’t have done it without them. Community is everything for me and I’m always going to be here for my community.
Be your authentic self – and that’s a tip for awards competitions, for starting a business, for anything really. Believe in yourself, speak your truth and be open to sharing. If you believe in your product or service enough, others will start believing in you too.
I’m someone who has struggled, and still struggles, with imposter syndrome. I’ve had days where I think to myself, ‘what am I doing here, why am I doing this?’ and taking part in the awards has been such a confidence boost for me. I know I belong and I’ve learned to celebrate and appreciate my own work.