Lindork’s Lists – Q&A #8: Mallory Yawnghwe (Indigenous Box)

Lindork’s Lists: Q&A with… is a feature I release every other Sunday via email for paid subscribers of my newsletter. The Q&A you’re reading now was actually released for subscribers a month before this blog post. In addition to the Q&A, I also release a weekly Lindork’s Lists curated recommendations for Things to Do, Eat, and Know Each Week for free newsletter subscribers. There’s a condensed version of that email published to the blog every Thursday. But basically, subscribers get everything first and fuller, and you get to be part of a cool community, get access to exclusive giveaways, great content, and are supporting the work that I do. If that’s of interest, learn more about Lindork’s Lists (and become a free or paid subscriber!)

Lindork’s Lists: Q&A # 8 with Mallory Yawnghwe

Originally published to newsletter subscribers on July 11, 2021

The eighth person I’m profiling in my new paid newsletter subscriber Q&A series is:

Mallory Yawnghwe, Indigenous Box President

Q&A with Mallory Yawnghwe Indigenous Box Edmonton
My Q&A with Mallory Yawnghwe, President/CEO of the Indigenous Box was first released to paid subscribers on July 11, 2021.

Getting to know Mallory Yawnghwe:

Mallory, 35, is the president of the Indigenous Box, a seasonal, curated subscription box service that features “unique, beautiful, fun, useful, delicious, and delightful products from Indigenous small businesses.”

Her Indigenous Box business launched just this past year in March 2021.

“To me, Indigenous box is for Indigenous people to see themselves in, but also from Indigenous people for anyone to enjoy.”
– Mallory Yawnghwe

Mallory says Indigenous economic participation means the chance for communities to thrive, and for families to build inter-generational wealth; an opportunity taken for granted by other Canadians that has been denied to Indigenous people.

With a $33 billion economy, set to triple by 2024, Indigenous entrepreneurs are starting businesses at 9x the Canadian national average!

For centuries we’ve been made to feel less than, and not even considered human. We aren’t less than. We are a great and accomplished people. We are now awakening to that fact. We are coming to take up space and exist in spaces where we haven’t been welcomed.

I absolutely LOVE this. One my acts of reconciliation is supporting Indigenous business owners—spending money for their product or service, sharing about them, spreading the word. So when one of my newsletter subscribers Megan reached out to suggest I feature Mallory and the Indigenous Box—I wanted to shout about it loud!

Mallory’s Indigenous Boxes sell out fast (the summer one went so fast I couldn’t get my hands on it), but I’m waiting and watching eagerly for updates on the release of the fall box and can’t wait to purchase one and support not only Mallory, but all the Indigenous makers featured in her Indigenous Box. Supporting Indigenous business owners is such an amazing, tangible act of reconciliation. We should all be doing this.

Learn more about Mallory in our Q&A below and follow the Indigenous Box on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

Indigenous Box Explore Edmonton

Let’s Dive Into the Q&A with Mallory:

  1. How did you get the idea to create the Indigenous Box and what do you hope that curating and selling this box achieves?

    • I’ve enjoyed a few subscription boxes myself and I always wished there was something created with me in mind, as an Indigenous woman.

    • Every single time I think about Indigenous Box I think about our people, especially our youth. I want our young people to see these collections of products that were made for us and by us, and see opportunities for themselves. I want Indigenous people to receive these boxes from us and feel that they are having a VIP experience.

  2. I love on the website, how you say: “Indigenous people are reclaiming their place at the economic table and forging a path forward through the entrepreneurial spirit built into their DNA.” Can you talk more about this, your sentiment on it, what it means for Indigenous communities / entrepreneurs?

    • For thousands of years, Indigenous people conducted business along trade routes that spanned Turtle Island. We truly are America’s original supply chain.

    • For centuries we’ve been made to feel less than, and not even considered human. We aren’t less than. We are a great and accomplished people. We are now awakening to that fact. We are coming to take up space and exist in spaces where we haven’t been welcomed.
    • With Canada’s fastest growing population segment, we aren’t going anywhere. We survived. There’s no stopping our progress.

  3. Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?

    • My first experience in ‘business’ was when I took a leap out of my comfort zone, going into car sales, after years as a waitress. Although I didn’t love that work or environment, I began to see that I could exist in spaces that I never imagined for myself. Going back to school for a Bachelor of Commerce probably stemmed from that experience.

    • Since then I’ve spent a lot of time assisting other people with their projects as an independent consultant, alongside my full-time job in public procurement.

    • I didn’t always see entrepreneurship as a possibility for myself. It took a long time to build the confidence, resilience, and skills I needed to get myself here. That being said, I guess that my first taste of entrepreneurship was at the age of six selling cupcakes out of a cardboard box at Pow Wows!

  4. Can you shout out to a few Indigenous makers who have been featured in your box or will be featured in your boxes?

    • Some of the amazing people we’ve been able to work with include Carrie Armstrong and her team at Mother Earth Essentials.

  5. How do you choose who or what gets to be in the box?

    • I look for products that I would love to receive as gifts! I am very fortunate to have had a lot of Indigenous entrepreneurs reach out to me to share their products, and I always enjoy meeting like-minded people from across the country, and learning about their businesses.

  6. What type of response or feedback have you / the Indigenous Box received from both customers as well as the makers who are featured?

    • I am very fortunate to have the absolute best customers in the world! Everyone has been so very supportive and appreciative. Many of our customers are Indigenous women. I really believe that when they open an Indigenous Box, they will feel like the VIPs that they are, knowing that I created this product with them in mind.

    • So far the feedback I’ve gotten suggests that my intention is coming across. Our non-Indigenous customers love being introduced to new businesses that weren’t on their radar before. They are receptive to the invitation to appreciate some marvellous Indigenous-created products.
      Indigenous Box Explore Edmonton 2

  7. Do you know if there are other Indigenous-focused subscription boxes like yours in Alberta? Canada? North America?

    • There are a few now, with new ones popping up as well. It’s a popular and fun idea. It’s exciting to see Indigenous people finding their place in commerce.

  8. How can people support you and other Indigenous peoples—specifically in relation to your business and entrepreneurs business, but also beyond that too—thinking of truth and reconciliation.

    • I think people can support Indigenous owned businesses, not just by buying from but talking about us, telling friends, telling co-workers and businesses to support us. Mention our corporate gifting service to businesses that need conference gifts or prizes. Shout us out on social media!

    • Indigenous entrepreneurs are working hard to elevate their communities and are becoming leaders in the process and when we support their businesses we support the building of future leaders. I see it already, kid entrepreneurs!
    • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission gave people an opportunity to know our story. In knowing the history you are at the beginning of making change. I would say continuous learning about us. It was never taught, so now is your chance.

There is so much more to come from Indigenous Box. I am excited for the future of Indigenous business! – Mallory Yawnghwe

Wrapping up our Q&A:

  • What show would you recommend people watch on Netflix (or other streaming services) and why? 

    • I really love anything comedy or anything with leading women. Quite honestly, I am a movie listener, in that I usually put movies/shows on to listen as I bead, pack boxes or do other work. But some of my favourites have to be Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime for best series.

    • The Queen of Katwe on Disney Plus (also if you love this one then you must see the Queen’s Gambit on Netflix) and I wont say how many times I have watched Hidden Figures or Joy but both are great real movies starring women. I love these shows because I love seeing strong confident smart women being just their amazing selves.

  • Is there a book or podcast you recently read (or doesn’t have to be recent) that you would recommend to others and why?

    • Indigenomics has been on my desk for the last two months and I go back to it over and over again. I am really inspired by Carol Anne Hilton’s work and I find a lot of inspiration and motivation in her words.

    • I listen to “Two Crees in a Pod” podcast and I find so much peace in their interviews. I relate to all their stories and it feels comforting.

  • What is one of your favourite restaurants or stores you’d recommend in Edmonton?

    • Tokiwa—the best, best ramen in town. I would also recommend Noodle Feast, for some hand pulled noodles and dumplings! My favourite store would have to be anything with donuts! ;P

  •  What’s something about Alberta you love or recommend others check out?

    • Maybe this won’t happen for sometime still but any music festival is my favourite. My most peaceful and fun times were always at Wild Mountain Music Festival in Hinton. It’s up on a mountain and the views are epic and the fresh air is everything you need.

Thank you Mallory for sharing your story!

You can connect with Mallory and the Indigenous Box online at:

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