Jody Spence & Carrie Kruger
Red Nation DesignOTDC ACE-IT Graduates
Jody Spence & Carrie Kruger
Red Nation Design
Jody Spence and Carrie Kruger are graduates of OTDC ACE-IT and creators of Red Nation Design, "Okanagan's one-stop-shop for everything Indigenous." Red Nation sells a large range of offerings, from handmade lifestyle items to luxury household items, to provide their community with products that reflect their cultural identity.
The vision behind Red Nation Design is to provide quality products and custom creations that reflect Indigenous heritage in design and style. Jody and Carrie explain that they also want to help other Indigenous artists and provide educational tools for their community. They want to be a resource centre for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and discuss the background, history, and traditional meaning behind different pieces and collections. Red Nation Design gives back to its community by offering affordable wholesale prices to local schools, the health department and other organizations.
Carrie notes that some non-urban natives are falling away from their culture and identity. She wants to inspire others and help in "finding that identity and root" so they "can be proud of where [they] come from." Jody and Carrie want to provide affordable Indigenous merchandise to keep individuals close to their culture. Carrie explains that Red Nation Design is unique because it also sells handmade crafts. Some of the handmade products include beaded clothing, hats and Indigenous regalia outfits (which can be custom ordered). Carrie notes that all pieces have a story and significant meaning behind them.
Jody and Carrie started selling their crafts in small vendor booths when taking their kids to different pow wows across Canada and the US. They soon realized the high demand for their products as their vendor repeatedly sold out. They were able to secure more inventory to display at other pow wows and began to expand to conferences and crafter fairs, and from there, Red Nation Design took flight. Jody and Carrie continued to stock inventory and moved away from selling at vendors to sell at their home. They transformed their living room and dining room into a shoppable storefront.
When Jody and Carrie joined the I-ACE program, they had been considering creating a more accessible online store channel in addition to their home store. During the I-ACE program, the couple designed and published a website that displays a selection of their store's offering. Jody describes that the online channel saying that it has “improved brand awareness and increased conversion rates at their storefront,” providing new access to their products that they haven't had before.
Social media posts have helped Jody and Carrie keep customers updated with the newest product and sale offers. They have seen demand rise above supply for Red Nation Design's products. They believe that they are able to attract a lot of customers because of their quality, unique offerings, and reasonable prices.
Jody and Carrie's future plans include upgrading their storefront to a retail store. Currently, they have been working to negotiate terms to open their retail location in a local mall. They also plan to create a YouTube channel and offer workshops to teach crafts that can be made at home with the family. We at the I-ACE program are so excited to see where Jody and Carrie take Red Nation Design! To learn more about Jody and Carrie's business and keep updated on their journey, visit them online at https://www.rednationdesign.com/