Beyond The Numbers; our Pricing Philosophy

Beyond The Numbers; our Pricing Philosophy
(First published June 2021 alongside our website/brand launch - revised October 2022 with more present day language amendments)

Number values are really only half the story when it comes to pricing. There are societal norms, self-worth, cultural appropriations, and perceptions that also come into play. 

When we first sat down to price our work in the beginning (Fall 2020), we used benchmarks of other beaders that we were following. Even back then, we felt our prices were high. If you have been with us since the beginning you would have noticed that our prices had steadily climbed between day 1 and the launch of the website. Part of this is due to our skill level accelerating - but a lot of it is due to a learning curve. In our humble opinion, nearly every beader on the market is under charging (although we are happy to see prices steadily increase). 

This comes down to a few reasons. The first is the history of cultural appropriation. For years, traditional indigenous patterns and designs have been mass produced in sweatshops. Even today - Zara currently has a pair of beaded earrings listed for $20!!! We looked at the design and there is no physical way to create a pair in less than 3 hours - if not 5. For them to be $20, it is quite easy to draw a conclusion of production in a sweatshop. This market undervaluing is a constant battle. 

Thankfully many have woken up to cultural appropriation in the past decade and the tide is slowly turning. Consumers are growing more conscious and are thinking about who’s hands produce their products. This doesn't always denote a change in purchase habits right away - but we are seeing a shift. None-the-less the pricing legacy lingers. We are inundated in a fast fashion world. 

This next theory might not be scientifically proven, but it is without a doubt those who experience trauma (first hand or intergenerationally) struggle with self-worth. When we think about our great grandmother charging $40 for her INCREDIBLE beaded moccasins (regardless of inflation) this is a gross undervalue of primarily women’s handiwork. This pattern of undervaluing women's work is so deep and so incessant in our culture and in our marketplace that we barely blink an eye. However, we have no problem raising eyebrows when women begin to value their worth and their output. 

There is much more we could say about this. But today we will focus on the power and healing that comes from stepping into your power, into your self worth. This process is certainly reflected in pricing artwork. It’s all part of the healing process.

THEN there is the story of the actual numbers....

In the product itself, it is important to us to use high-end durable materials:

  1. We use ethically sourced sterling silver and 14K gold plated findings
  2. Glass seed beads (mix of Czech, Japanese, and Toho) 
  3. Semi-precious gemstones (in some pieces only - we will always make a specific note if they are included) 
  4. All of our packaging uses the reduce, reuse, recycling method and we never use single use plastics 

These pieces are 100% handmade. The time and heart put into these creations are reflected in our prices:

  1. Design time can take anywhere between 30 min- 5 hours per design. Sometimes the different bead types and/or colours do not work together in the way we envisioned which means going back to the drawing board to create the perfect expression to honour the story. 
  2. The earrings vary between 3-7 hours to create once they are designed (not to mention human error to account for mistakes/redos) 

All business operations are run by the two of us:

  1. An important aspect of this company is the story telling through each piece, each story and message requires time, thought, and editing
  2. Copywriting: We incorporate factual based copy and history and this requires research. Depending on the copy, we have an elder proofread
  3. Digital creative: We run our social media and create all of the content that goes into it. This includes staging, sourcing staging materials, photography, videos, and being the models - or asking our gracious friends to model
  4. We not only hand packages and mail out/ deliver all of our orders - we also conduct a small ceremony to cleanse, bless, and protect each pair before sending
  5. Sourcing materials takes a lot of time. We are constantly searching for very specific colours to create our art. Furthermore, we are continually evolving our craft and looking for new ways to innovate. All of this takes time and heart. 


Chi Miigwech for reading through. 

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Past Work: Mermaid Collection

Past Work: Mermaid Collection

Mermaid Collection 

Released Spring 2022

With this collection, we are going under the sea. However, don’t expect the cheerful song and dance like Sebastien from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Mermaids are as mysterious as they are alluring. Madison has been particularly drawn to mermaids since she was young and has been working on the research and design of this collection for almost a year! 



Mermaids represent the dichotomy of light and dark. They captivate our imaginations by being desirable yet dangerous. Some say they are meant to be an embodiment of the spectrum of female emotions; ranging from playfulness to dangerous rage (is that the patriarchy we smell??). Through folklore and myth, the mermaid narrative has been crafted to show that the beauty of a woman can be weaponized to harm men. Many stories depict a mermaid using her beauty and song to allure men to dive into the depths of the sea. This dive ends in demise or salvation. This metaphor shows how the mermaid beckons one of our most human traits: to dive deep into the mystery of our unlived lives. Stories have tried to paint this dive into our innermost selves with fear and demise; but don’t we know by now that dancing with the darkness is how to set ourselves free?  

Through this collection we examine all aspects of the dichotomy that mermaids embody. We weave folklore, western mainstream fairytales, anishinaabe clan stories, and symbolism to look at the full spectrum of embodiment that the mermaid has come to represent.



Science tells us that all living things were born from the sea. Which is why the ocean is sometimes also referred to as the “womb of the world” suggesting that the sea is the mother to all living beings. But before modern science, our ancestors knew there was a magic about water that makes it essential to life on earth. In myths and legends from all around the world, water is attributed with mystical and divine powers. People worshiped gods and goddesses of the sea, including the merfolk in the legends and fairytales we know today. 

We can look to the mermaid for guidance in how to be in connection with the element of water and the beings that reside in it. Being so closely tied to the element of water, mermaids symbolize the source of life. Mermaids lure us into the water realm, mirroring our emotions, challenging us to look deep inside ourselves beyond the surface. Her wisdom can also teach us to cherish water and look deeper into the meaning and medicine water brings us throughout the cycles of our lives.



The moon has long had an aura of mystery and magic about it. It is tied to the ebbs and flows of the tide, as well as the ever-changing cycle of women’s bodies. The moon has great influence on the sea, so it is no surprise that the mermaid embodies qualities often associated with the moon and the tides. 

In the colour story of this pair we wanted to bring emphasis to the dichotomy of dark and light. The moon goes through its cycles of shining bright in our sky, and times when it is a faint shadow. The mermaid embodies this concept in a more intricate way. Mermaids mirror the complexity of women's emotions, ranging from playful to stormy, a parallel to the ebbs and flows that happen through a woman's moon cycle. Each moment of this cycle, within the moon and within the woman, is sacred and powerful.



The sea has long been connected with emotions, intuition and the subconscious. Deep, dark and mysterious, water can hold secrets we may never discover. It can also be nurturing and healing. The ocean is known as home to mermaids and it is only fitting that the mermaid echos the water in which they live. Mermaids are the dichotomy of light and dark, they can be both alluring and dangerous. In folklore, a mermaid’s song and voice was used to lure the listener, often to the point of setting aside safety and causing the listener to plunge into the waves. This leap could bring doom or it could bring salvation. Sometimes it brought both. The mermaid's song lures us to the unknown, to the impassioned world of change and possibility. Mermaids continue to be a part of our imagination because they represent a primal human need; to dive deep into the mystery of our unlived life.

This warrior design calls us to celebrate and honor the inner warrior in all of us. Embodying this state can mean being vulnerable and plunging into the unknown, trusting whatever the outcome may be. As the mermaid reminds us, the deep and mysterious can be cleansing and healing.



Water’s changeable nature, fertility, nourishment and undulating sensual rhythms are why it is often given a feminine face. Water’s duality reflects that of a mermaid in it’s representation of the divine feminine and nurturer that water represents to all life.  

In folklore and fairytales, mermaids are often found with a comb or a mirror. While your first thought may be that this is an object of vanity, its meaning goes much deeper than that. Symbolically, the mirror represents a portal between the conscious and unconscious worlds. The comb is urging us to consider both sides of consciousness in order to see more clearly.  In today’s world this could take the shape of UNlearning many of the collective programmings around equality, worthiness, and value that have taken over our minds and created our realities. Can you dive into your subconscious and face the biases and beliefs that no longer serve you? Can you add conscious thought to reprogram those beliefs into something that aligns with your heart? 

The act of combing one's hair has been portrayed as vain in many cases. But the true meaning of the act is one of purification leading to transcendence. Yet another patriarchal reframe created to undermine the power of women.



Disney is one of the most powerful narrative machines in North America. In Disney’s The Little Mermaid, there were some surprisingly progressive depictions for 1989 amid the Ragean era - but sadly tradition and patriarchy still were the dominant message. 

King Triton represents the dominant culture and social order. He is depicted as being over protective - but really he is repressive and ruled by fear of the unknown. His oppression forces Ariel to create a hidden place with all her dreams and treasures (the cave) which represents the inner psyche we have as youth to dream beyond circumstance. But not surprisingly, the King destroys it once he finds it. 

On Ariel’s quest for love she is instructed to give up her voice (her soul and true self) in order to find love (in 3 days! Which is a nod to women’s limited fertility window). Ursula tells her she doesn’t need her voice, she just needs her body language - great message for young children. (eye roll) Although Ursuala is a “woman scorned”, she also represents gender fluidity and sexuality. Her purpose is to represent that which is not accepted in society. 

Sadly in the end, King Triton kills Ursula (with a phallic object noless) and Ariel chooses the traditional life of young marriage to a man much like her father. 

What’s interesting about the use of the mermaid is that the sea represents the subconscious. All of these suppressive forces & yearnings to breakfree are happening in our subconscious. Yet, in the case of Ariel she chooses to ignore the call of the wild and Ursula is left to drown in the depths of the subconscious. 

Not quite a fairytale afterall.



As the sea nurtures people from all walks of life, mermaids appear in past myths and folklore from around the world. Their stories are as colourful as the people who tell them. Long before European settlers came to the new world, bringing their tales of mermaids with them, the indigenous folk across turtle island already knew about the fish people who lived in their oceans, rivers and lakes. In Inuit mythology, Sedna is the goddess of the sea and mother of marine animals, her sacrifice brought an abundance of food to her people. In Anishinaabe folklore, the Nibiianaabe are a race of water spirits and these creatures are used as a clan symbol in some Ojibwe communities.



Once again, we give thanks to Alyssa Bardy for the amazing photography of us modelling the product. And once again (just like the Enchanted Forest shoot) we were absolutely freezing and Alyssa had to edit out some goose bumps! haha 


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Past Work: Enchanted Forest Collection

Past Work: Enchanted Forest Collection

Enchanted Forest 

Released Winter 2022

The term Enchanted Forest can conjure imagery of disney princesses and birds singing. For us, every forest is truly enchanted. The tree beings are filled with everyday magic that we often overlook. Through this series we will explore the secrets that the forest is begging us to understand.



When walking through a forest, it is easy to have the reflex of looking up. Recently we visited the forests on the west coast and we nearly had a neck ache from staring up in mesmerization of the giant red cedars.

However, we often forget to think about what is under our feet while in a forest.  Under the layers of brush, dirt, and roots lie an intelligent world of micro communicators called mycelium. Together they are called the mycorrhizal networks that run between the tree and plant beings. These intricate networks are millenia old and their intelligence has likely barely been understood by modern science. Science recently revealed that these networks allow trees to communicate with one another. 



The trees can hold us if we ask. Their wise souls have seen many moons. As a collective, we have forgotten that the soul of a tree is just as worthy as the soul of a human. We have forgotten to say hello to the trees. We have forgotten that the trees will listen and offer energy back to us if we ask. 

You can build relationships with the trees around you. Offer them tobacco as a sign of good faith. Ask them to tell you their name. Listen with your heart, not your ears. 

When you are feeling energetically drained, or sad, or overwhelmed have you ever tried sitting at the base of a tree? Ask the tree and mama gaia to take that which no longer serves you in your body. If done with a spirit of reciprocity, the tree will help you. 

Next time you pass a tree, try saying hello and give a smile with your heart.



With this collection, we debuted a new staple design called The Cycle | Waawiyeyaa [Waa-wee-yey-ya]

This new design celebrates the cycle of death, birth, and rebirth (one of our favourite themes!). To know this cycle, is to know that there is never really a state of completion, just an ever evolving journey. The word Waawiyeyaa means round and in Anishinaabe, it refers to this circular shape and way of being with no beginning, middle or end.

We had so much fun exploring this theme with the Doom & Bloom collection last Fall that we decided to solidify the story into a new design.

This theme of rebirth can be seen so literally in the forest. New life blooms because of the death of other life. So in this way, nothing is ever in a permanent state - it is always evolving. Just like us in our cycles of life.



We also debuted (or formally debuted) a secondary stable design: The Path of Souls. We are using the Ojibwe word “Miikana” as the translation. It means “the path”. As with most Anishinaabe words, it has a literal and a spiritual meaning. The path our souls take throughout life and after life is something sacred and something to reflect on. The offering of this design is to honour this sacred path.

For many of us, our path may not always feel as though it is “straight”.. or maybe some feel it is “too straight”. We are curious how we can redefine this narrative. Can you define your own path outside of the constraints of the traditional paths society leads us to think we should walk?

To go one step further, can you articulate the path of your life without using your job titles, your marital status, your parenthood status, the birth and deaths of those you’ve loved? We tend to describe our paths solely with these traditional markers - what would your path look like to think outside these descriptors? As we peel these layers back, we can begin to understand the true Path of Our Souls.



This collection brought us so much job to create. It was also the first collection we collaborated with a photographer for our content shots. Alyssa Bardy was so wonderful to work with and continues to be an amazing partner of Commanda Collective. You can find her work at 

The photoshoot was in the forest on Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee land near Kingston. It was absolutely freezing which is why our faces look frozen in some of the photos haha. Alyssa did amazing at editing out some of our goosebumps! Luckily, we had mittens handmade by our great-grandmother to keep us warm. 





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Past Work: Doom & Bloom Collection

Past Work: Doom & Bloom Collection

Birth. Death. Rebirth.

Released Fall 2021

A natural cycle that is all around us. Often there is fear associated with the idea of death, but that fear forgets the beauty of rebirth🌚 Through the 7 one-of-a-kind pieces in this collection we will explore this cycle and the ways it influences our lives✨


This collection was inspired by the birth, death, and rebirth cycle. The natural expression of this cycle is all around us, especially in mother nature. She shows us that death is inevitable but not finite. The leaves of the trees turn brilliant then fall and wither. But their decomposition creates fertile ground to grow new life. Mother nature embraces this natural cycle.. she doesn't fight against it or fear it. So why do we? Our deaths are inevitable, death within our lives is inevitable. But it isn't finite. The more we can accept our role in the greater cycle of life, the deeper our reserves become to live life with joy in the face of loss and tragedy. 



Our colour choices are always significant, but for this line it is especially so. White is for birth, black for death, and gold for rebirth. It is not lost on us that the trio of these colours is what makes these pieces so striking and beautiful (we hope you feel the same!). If you remove one colour, the piece would lose its magic. It's the same with this cycle we are exploring. Life is predicated on death.



Personal evolution is another avenue to create a relationship with the birth, death, rebirth cycle. Each of us are born into this world and have formative experiences and predispositions to create our habits, character, thoughts, and narratives. Most of us require some re-writing of inner narratives. Many who are alive today were conditioned with the scarcity narrative, the work ethic = value narrative, and the general belief that we are not worthy of love and happiness. These narratives have been ingrained into our parents and grandparents and handed down to us. It's not their fault, it's how the society at large wants us to be.. to keep us small. These narratives require a death ... and they require us to birth new & healthier narratives into existence for future generations to flourish. 



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Madison's Path To Her Inner Warrior

Madison's Path To Her Inner Warrior

What does your inner Warrior look like to you? This is my personal journey with our Warrior earrings. When Taylor began beading and she was making such colourful and loud designs, while I admired their beauty, it felt like something I could not “pull off” and was not confident enough to wear. When I began beading and designing myself, I started small and neutral because that is what was in my comfort zone. But as I started to feel the power the bold designs held, I quickly became drawn to the intricate designs and radiant colours.

Through our journey of designing and sharing earrings with people we have commonly heard this same sentiment I held; ‘I feel safer being small’. We have begun to associate the earrings with a state of mind, a metaphor for how willing you are to step into your true self. As someone from a societally oppressed group, smallness has been the equivalency with safety. This is wired into us through generations. Somehow these earring patterns and colours are helping to undo that wiring. They allow me to heal it. I no longer believe the world is better off with me being small and meak. The world is better when we are all better. 

I now hold a special space for the Warrior earrings. I have a lot to be proud of and I wear these on the days I want to honor my inner warrior, the days I feel powerful in my own skin, the days I am willing to embody a higher version of myself. Stepping into this higher version can feel uncomfortable at first, but each day I become more rooted in this confidence and the Warrior earrings have played a huge part in this journey for me.

Shop the design. Warrior | Manidoowi

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What Makes A Chief?

What Makes A Chief?
The Espaniel design will be a staple that we use as a way to create an archive project. This first colour combo is dedicated to the Chiefs that came before us. 

Chief Sahquakegick (Louis Espagnol) 1906

This first colour combination is titled CHIEF | OGIMAA (oh-gee-ma). It’s hard to say exactly where or when the beginning is, but through research we have learned that the name Espaniel was spelled Espanol, Espanole, or Spaniel. We know the Espaniel men were often Chiefs of their region and they were often at the forefront of their communities when it came to treaty negotiation. Our great great great great grandfather, known as Frise Espanole was a signatory on the Manitoulin Treaty of 1836, he also fought in the war of 1812 and was awarded 3 medals for his service. His son, Louis Espanol was a leader in his community. He not only ran the fur trading in his region, he also fought with the crown to garner better rights and treatment for the people in his region. You can see the Hudson’s Bay wording behind him in the first image. He was ultimately a signatory on Treaty No. 9, the James Bay Treaty. 

Chief Sahquakegick (Louis Espagnol)

Chief Sahquakegick (Louis Espagnol) wrote to James Phipps of Indian Affairs in December 1884: “All of my people who used to hunt near here are in great need. The trappers have stolen all our beavers, so there is nothing left for them to hunt and they are too old to go anywhere else … they all join me in asking you to help us” 

It’s hard to say what it takes to be a chief. With these colours we tried to paint a picture, or a feeling of what it means to be a chief, and what it means to honour the chiefs (named and not named) who came before us. The history of indigenous people, the treaties, the Hudsons Bay - it is convoluted at best. It is sad and inspiring and we know that we will never know the half of it. We are lucky that the Espaniel name shows up in many forms of documentation due to the relation to leadership, so we are able to continue to discover about our history. We are honoured to share blood with these men who strived for the betterment of their communities. We hope to continue their legacy in a new way. 

Alex Espaniel and Annie Espaniel with children

James (Jim) Espaniel - Taylor & Madison's great grandfather. This photo was taken for the local newspaper

Susan & Jim Espaniel with children: Irene, Archie, Kenny, Rene, and Shirley 

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What is Futurism?

What is Futurism?

The Dreamer | Nibawaajige pattern is inspired by the concept of Indigenous Futurism. 

Indigenous futurism is a sister concept to AfroFuturism that dreams of a world where mother earth is not only cared for, she is honoured and treated with the grace she deserves. A world where Indigenous people are not stolen/abused/forgotten. A world where Indigenous knowledge & laws are revered with the honour deserved. A world where Indigenous people are free to love, free to walk in their power, free to rise.

Although the word futurism sounds synonymous with "the future", it is a not a far off distant world. I believe we can begin to embody this world today. This concept of futurism is the process of merging the vision you hold for the future but dissolving the timeline; seeing it now. We are the future for our ancestors. We are embodiments of their wildest dreams. Let's keep the legacy going.

I guess the question may be; can a pair of earrings change the future? For a mind stuck in this dense, 3D world that might seem a lofty goal. But, I believe that yes they can. Intentions matter. These offerings were made to inspire you to dream. Inspire you to embody our collective dreams of a world rooted in empathy & reciprocity. 

It is imperative to honour that this concept would not have been possible without Afrofuturism; a literary genre created by Black voices that began as early as the1860s by the work of Sojourner Truth. One hundred years later, Octavia Butler started publishing and she is now widely known as the godmother of the genre. These visionaries dreamed of a world free from white supremacy, a world that fostered Black brilliance and light instead of doing everything to dim it. It often merges technology with black intelligence painting new fantastical worlds. Have you watched Black Panther movie? That is an example of an Afrofuturistic world; a world of Black Excellence. 

Below are a few variations we have developed in this pattern. 

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