Jaylene Cardinal is an Indigenous artisan and the co-owner of W.C. Creatives based in Kingston, Ontario. She is also a current participant in the Kwe-Biz Program for Indigenous women entrepreneurs which is offered through the WE-CAN Project.

W.C. Creatives offers a modern take on native jewelry, fashion and crafts. Unique and costume pieces range from acrylic paintings to statement necklaces. Their work can be seen in their trade square boutique inside the Fort Henry National Historic Site.

Jaylene Cardinal in front of one of her artwork pieces
Jaylene is pictured here with a piece of artwork
she created after being inspired by Kwe-Biz.
Photo courtesy of Jaylene Cardinal.

“The purpose of our business is to express ourselves through our art, poetry, music and painting to work towards reconciliation,” says Jaylene. “We want to inspire other Indigenous people to become entrepreneurs and artists themselves.”

W.C. Creatives was founded in 2016, and at first was featured primarily at local craft shows and pow wows.

“We wanted to do something we loved for a living, and to show our children that they can be leaders and business owners themselves one day,” Jaylene shares. “Dakota [her life partner and business partner] spent years making other people’s dreams come true by working all kinds of jobs. We finally decided we wanted to pursue our own dreams, and figured we could do it together as a team.”

Today, the couple is excited to inspire their own children and those around them with their art, and connect with people who see the beauty in what they do.

“We are creating a path for future generations to succeed,” says Jaylene. “Showing them what our lives used to be to what they are now is a fundamental difference. Having a store up at Fort Henry, we’re also able to share our culture and art with so many people from around the world.”

Through their work with W.C. Creatives, Jaylene and Dakota hope their work can make a real impact.

“We want our work to show people who may be doubting themselves that they can do it, in spite of their mistakes or the things that may have happened to them,” Jaylene notes. “We believe it’s never too late to express yourself and chase a dream.”

Of her experience so far in the Kwe-Biz Program, Jaylene adds, “It has been so empowering and inspiring working with Kwe Biz. The passion and knowledge they have to share to lift women up and succeed are incredible. Every time I leave a meeting, I feel motivated and like I’m a step closer to my dream.”

To learn more about W.C. Creatives, visit their Facebook page. Their work can also be viewed in their boutique at Fort Henry National Historic Site (Trade Square) in Kingston, Ontario

The WE-CAN Project is led by Queen’s University and funded in part by FedDev Ontario through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund.