Daph’s “Crafty” Touch
Art and Design, Health
LD-ACE Graduate


Daphne Maxime is a First Nations woman, born in Enderby, who has recently moved back home after living nearly 40 years abroad in the USA. Daphne’s Father was Neskonlith, and lived on the Salmon Arm Reserve, while Daphne’s mother was from Splatsin community. Daphne is in her mid-fifties, but definitely not done learning and not done moving towards her goals. Daphne moved home from living in the USA in order to be closer to her family; she had been through some health issues and realized it was time to reconnect to her home.

When Daphne first considered joining the ACE Program, she had just started to get back into beading and sewing again. For many years earlier in her life, she made original beaded designs including things like key chains, book marks, earrings, bags, zippers and more, however, she hadn’t practiced her crafting for many years before picking it back up in 2015. Because she had recently started practicing her beading and sewing again, Daphne’s first thought after joining ACE was to expand her crafting practice and use this as her business concept for the program. She thought that she would grow her current crafting practice of simple beading projects by learning to do leather work and taking on more sewing projects. She particularly wanted to learn how to tan hide, to make moccasins, star blankets, and purses. However, the more she thought about her craft practice, and the more she learned about business concept design through ACE, the more Daphne realized that she really wanted a “more substantial” business plan. She wanted something that she could easily grow and scale and that she could use to support herself and her community. After learning about the crafting business and the industry that she would operate in, Daphne realized that it might be too difficult to use crafts as her main product offering. Eventually, she started to see her potential craft practice as a smaller, side aspect of her business rather than a fully-fledged business concept.

Around this time, Daphne attended a presentation hosted at the Enderby Health Centre by a massage therapist from Rain Wellness. At the presentation, the massage therapist told her audience about her journey to her profession as a massage therapist and how her career had helped her fulfill her personal and professional goals. Daphne was very inspired by this speaker and spent time talking with her about her journey; Daphne asked the presenter why she had chosen this career path, what she got out of her job and if her job helps her to stay de-stressed and healthy. From this discussion and this learning experience, Daphne realized that she could accomplish her own personal and professional goals in the same way this massage therapist had. It was from this interaction, that her business concept – Daph’s “Crafty” Touch was launched.

Daphne had meaningful and significant goals for herself; she always tried to be positive and to take advantage of opportunities as they came. She was hoping to create a sustainable business that she could grow and scale over time. She knew that she had the people skills and many of the “soft skills” needed to make her business successful, but what she wanted to learn more about was the “hard skills” or the technical aspects of entrepreneurship. As she moved through the ACE Program, she was starting to build up this toolkit of skills. For example, she learned about the process of creating logos and choosing design schemes; she learned about social media management and online skills as well. In fact, after working through the social media workshops, Daphne was confident enough to create a Facebook page for craft practice, which can be found here.

Daphne sees her business unfolding in two phases: phase one is all about expanding her current crafting skills, making custom craft orders and using this business to earn money to put herself through massage therapy school. The second phase (after completing the massage therapy education program) is to start her mobile massage business. Daphne wants to fuse her two business concept together to create Daph’s Crafty Touch. She definitely is committed to the idea of becoming a massage therapist, but does not want to give up on her craft practice, so she plans to fuse her two ideas. Daphne plans to offer massages that are convenient for her customers – particularly, rather than rent or buy a building for her massage therapy practice, she wants to be able to come to her customers, at their offices or homes for their massages. Because she’s focusing on convenience as one of her main value propositions, she recognizes that her target customers are likely to be busy individuals with a lot of work and a lot of stress in their lives. She would like to be an agent of change in her customers’ lives – someone who can help them de-stress and relax. She believes that by offering her services as a mobile business, she will be able to compete effectively in her local marketplace. She’s starting to get the word out about her vision and feels very supported by her family and friends. Daphne recognizes that it can be difficult to build up a client base as a new massage therapist, so she is glad to have the support of her local community and family.

Daph’s Crafty Touch is a mobile massage business, but Daphne also advertises and sells her custom crafts to her massage clients. After the first full year of business, Daphne hopes just to break even. She’s realistic and understands that starting up a service business comes with a lot of costs that will eventually lessen over time. For example, in the first year as she starts to establish her brand, she may have more marketing and brand awareness costs than in the years that follow. In 10 years, she sees herself expanding the business yet again by hiring on other massage therapists and expanding her brand geographically.

Daphne is always willing to learn and always leaves herself open to new opportunities – that’s one of the reason’s she enjoyed ACE so much. Daphne stated that she felt that the ACE Program “opened up [her] eyes” to new knowledge – she stated that coming to the ACE Program feels like she “has taken blinders off.” Through her learning at ACE she sees businesses differently – even things like their logos and store layouts convey so much more information to her than they did before. Daphne has found each of the ACE instructors and guest speakers to be unique and differently knowledgeable. They all have their expertise and come to teach different subjects at ACE. However, Daphne noted that one thing each of the instructors has had in common has been their enthusiasm. She can tell that they are all excited to be a part of ACE and enthusiastic to share their knowledge/expertise.

At first Daphne was unsure of the ACE Program because she thought she might have difficulty keeping up with the concepts, since it’s similar to a university-level course, and taught by university professors. However, she notes that the course material has been presented such that it has been easy to understand and to apply. In particular, Daphne has really appreciated and has been encouraged by the stories and examples shared by the professors – especially stories of their personal journeys and experiences. She would advise any future ACE students to follow in her footsteps and to be curious; she notes that the professors are so full of knowledge and so willing to share it. As a student though, it’s part of your role to ask questions and to take full advantage of the opportunity to interact with these experts. Daphne says that if you have even an inkling of desire to be your own boss, to start a business or to learn more about business, then you should check out the ACE Program. Daphne stated that she’s “finding [the ACE Program] fulfilling…and very rewarding.”

Daphne has a sister and another family member who were in the ACE Program along with her, however, she also noted that getting to know her course mates and getting to learn from them has been very enjoyable. She feels motivated each week to work on her concept and to improve herself thanks to her instructors, her course mates and the investment that the program has made in her by providing her with tools like a laptop. However, becoming an entrepreneur is really all about accepting risk into our lives; for Daphne, the scariest part of being an entrepreneur is learning to manage her accounting and bookkeeping. Daphne used to always think about finding ways to go around obstacles – but now she realizes she has to go through them. She doesn’t want to rely on someone else to do her accounting and bookkeeping – she wants to be able to learn it herself and thanks to the ACE Program she has never been more confident that she can get through that obstacle. Daphne noted that she “really love[s] the program,” and is “thankful that [she] is a part of it.

Daphne graduated from LD-ACE in September 2016, and Daph’s Crafty Touch shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon! We’re excited for what the future holds for Daphne and her business!

Daphne Maxime is a graduate of the Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program. 202 Aboriginal Entrepreneurs have graduated from the award winning ACE Program, which focuses on bridging Aboriginal culture with the key elements of entrepreneurship and business creation. The ACE Program is made possible through the collective efforts of our partnering regions, communities, institutions, and faculties.