Kara Froese

Lotusberry Co.

I-ACE Nak'akdli Entrepreneurship Program


“Just go for it! Just jump into it, it was literally the best course I’ve taken.” Indigenous ACE graduate Kara Froese, is embracing her new-found passion for entrepreneurship following her graduation from the Nak'azdli Entrepreneurship program in the fall of 2021. Kara is a Syilx artist from the Upper Nicola Band. She currently resides on the unceded territory of QayQayt First Nation, also known as New West, BC. Kara started a counter-colonial art and apparel business called Lotusberry Co. She is a self-taught artist who does beading, sewing, crochet, drawing and digital art. Lotusberry Co was started amidst her struggles with postpartum depression and newly diagnosed Fybromyalgia which is characterized by chronic pain and fatigue. Kara has managed to channel these struggles into her drive to continue creating and breaking barriers. During the I-ACE program Kara started to see the full potential of her business that she had previously thought of as more of a hobby. She has developed Lotusberry greatly since then and it has become something that she is really proud of and it offers a way for her to express herself and her heritage through something she loves to do, create! 

About Kara & Lotusberry

Kara started Lotusberry Co five years ago and it has greatly evolved since then. She started by sewing baby blankets and toys for her son. From there she came up with a business idea where she made “mom stuff” to sell. This allowed her to show her creativity but she felt that she was losing her identity with it. After her second child was born, she took time off and decided that she wasn’t going to lose her identity with it this time. Kara was determined to stay that Creative she is and set down her new path of expressing herself and who she is, “as a disabled creative, as someone who’s had these challenges, and just being “me” as opposed to [being seen as] the mom”. She has struggled with postpartum depression, and being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and these really difficult challenges have led to her motivation for creating Lotusberry Co, a way for her to create something for herself and hold onto her identity. 

With the new look to it, Lotusberry Co has taken on more mediums and is focused on beading, crocheting, digital art, and sewing. Kara says that it has now become more of a decolonial thing where she’s creating to heal herself, connect with her ancestors, and to represent. It’s important to Kara to hone in on the market she wants to reach. Lotusberry offers representation of indigenous people and allies who understand the importance of that representation as opposed to trying to market to everybody. Her customers are people that will appreciate the experience of having something handmade and designed by somebody as opposed to mass produced, “representation” that one would find from target or other big operations. This indicates more of the counter-colonial representation. Kara enjoyed making her website, especially creating logos and the colour schemes, where she was able to put her creativity to use. She chose colours that tell a story with her family and the colour purple on her site represents the colour of Fibromyalgia. 

Experience in the I-ACE Program

Kara found out about the ACE Program through her sister who had taken it before. Kara describes her experience with the program as eye opening. On the first day of her class, the instructor asked “what assets do you not have to own but you can control?” This immediately had her thinking. She says “it was a total mind-shift from day one, and I took it and ran with it,” she explained that she had never thought about this as an option for her business, and thought of Lotusberry as just a side hobby. The program leaders “really made us feel like this is a business, this is a real thing, finances, logo, everything, I learned so much.” Before, Kara would think of herself as someone who sells on Instagram but is not a small business, and now she feels that it is a legitimate thing where she can give people her website link and all her information is there. She feels that the course didn’t come across too difficult, since she was given so much information from the instructors, and they were connected with people who really helped. She mentioned Sue Ross standing out as someone who taught a module on the different kinds of engagement. She noted how you don’t have to spend lots of money on advertising and it's accessible to use unpaid techniques. Having the program offered online was really important to her for accessibility. It would not have been possible for her if it hadn’t been so accessible, especially with having two kids and a disability. Attending and commuting to a course in person would have been difficult for Kara; however, she notes that the online delivery made this program possible. The laptop provided to her from the program was also really important and useful with the tools it had available. Kara talked about her experience in the education setting “It was so encouraging and positive, and to be surrounded by other indigenous people and in a school setting was just something I've never experienced before. It was incredibly powerful to be surrounded by Indigenous entrepreneurs from other communities who can relate with each other, share stories and have experienced similar struggles. There were times of vulnerability that we learned was important to get the why and who behind our businesses”. She described the setting as welcoming and encouraging, and she never felt judged if she had something to say. 

Kara’s business has developed a lot through the I-ACE program. She says that her business now compared to before the I-ACE program is “miles apart”. She started reopening in March of last year and was doing some custom orders through Instagram direct messages and it was very hectic. She was taking orders through three different social media accounts. A website is something she always wanted, but didn’t think it was something she could have because of the amount of money and work that goes into it. As soon as she joined the class, she started her shopify trial, because she was so inspired from the first day. Now, she is glad to have the website and the ease of having everything in one place - her digital art and handmade products. During the program, Kara greatly focused on the ecommerce side of her business and this has brought Lotusberry much further. 

She was happy to see that her ecommerce marketing efforts were working when Big Brother Canada reached out to her after finding and being impressed by the writeup on her website. Kara wasn’t interested in being on Big Brother Canada, but she says “it was really nice to know that someone read it and connected with it, and the online marketing seems to work.” Kara also recently added US and UK currency to her website, so her friends and others in those countries do not have to worry about exchange rates. Recently she got one of her first international sales on Etsy! 

A Message to Others

Kara has built a business that she is very proud of and has become an inspiration for others. This year, she wants to start doing in-person markets to connect with customers face-to-face. She also is considering participating in the Pow Wow Pitch competition for the experience, with hopes to learn lots and make friendships with like-minded people. Kara’s excited to put what she’s learned in the program to use in the Pow Wow Pitch competition. She mentioned “the thirty second- and one-minute pitch are all things we did in class but to actually put it into practice and action will be really good.” 

Kara’s story really shows that if you put your mind to something and really just go for it, you can achieve it. Her story is so inspirational and one that people can relate to from many different aspects. It is one that can inspire others to believe in themselves and their businesses too. 


“Go for it! It’s the best course I’ve ever taken. It wasn’t just a program, it was more than that. It helped me realize that vulnerability is growth and it’ll connect you to more than just your work. My recommendation for future program participants is to jump in with both feet, keep an open mind, and run with the ideas that the course gives you. Take every opportunity you get. Raise your hand! This was how I started my business too - I knew that I could create and sell. I just jumped into it, learning as I go. I don’t feel like anyone is ever truly ready to start a business, because there is always going to be uncertainty and obstacles. If I hadn’t done the I-ACE program, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to restart Lotusberry the way I have. So, just jump in with both feet, don’t think about it, go for it” (Kara Froese, 2022).
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