Submitted by GoDaddy
GoDaddy customer Lehi ThunderVoice Eagle and his sister, Rachel SummerRain, founders of Buy Native – who both identify as Diné (Navajo) and Totonac – always understood the significance and beauty of Native-owned businesses and Native-made goods. But too often in the billion-dollar Native arts and crafts industry, “Native inspired” or falsely claimed “Native-Made Goods” saturate the market and take away vital resources and recognition that belong to Native communities.
To elevate the voices of Native artisans, Lehi and Rachel created Buy Native, a community-curated database of Native businesses that can be filtered by area, product and tribal affiliation, so those trying to purchase Native products can do so consciously.
Rachel, who manages database curation and social media for the company, shares that the most exciting part of the business is for small Native artists and companies to feel like they have a voice.
“When I was sourcing companies for the site, a lot of the ones I came across had been either just using Instagram to promote their products or they had very outdated ways of showcasing their work, which was not allowing them to really highlight their art,” Rachel said. “These artists have incredible creations that others have never thought of doing or ways of interpreting new styles into our traditional designs, and I think being able to help them find a broader audience is incredible.”
By connecting Native creators and artists on a single platform and bringing the spotlight to their businesses and hard work, Buy Native hopes to help sustain and celebrate the culture of Native communities and Nations everywhere.
“A core element to this whole idea is that there were already so many Native markets out there, but it was difficult to decipher the authenticity and what would actually benefit or funnel resources to Native people. There’s a lot of misrepresentation,” Lehi explains. “We know that we’re capable of building businesses but are often boxed out of the American goods arena. That is why resources like Buy Native have become so important to our community.”
With each conscious purchase made through Buy Native, consumers directly funnel resources to the business owners and makers themselves, thus investing in Native communities with no middleman.
To learn more about their story and efforts, visit www.BuyNative.com.
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