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The business-savvy designing women of Montana are joining forces for an entertaining and enriching fashion, art, and business showcase.

Co-founded by entrepreneurs Cora Kay Chandler (Aaniiih), Brocade Stops Black Eagle (Crow, Mandan, Hidatsa)  and the Montana Native Growth Fund, the Big Sky Indigenous Women in Fashion and Art Gala & Indigenous Business Symposium is an opportunity for the state’s talented women from reservations including Rocky Boy, Crow, Fort Belknap, Fort Peck and Blackfeet, to display their talents and share their business-building knowledge with the community through a fashion show, vendor market and business symposium featuring 11 designers and 35 vendors.

“Our objective is to bring the Big Sky Indigenous women together to showcase their fashion. We wanted to give them a platform to utilize to showcase their items,” Chandler told Native News Online.  “A lot of times we have to go out of state to really deliver any of our products. If we can bring all of these ladies together, maybe we can make this an annual event where we give people the opportunity to showcase their items here up in the northern states.”

To make the event a networking and enrichment opportunity for those who aspire to emulate the featured designers and vendors, attendees can learn what it takes to make it as an entrepreneur in the business symposium, which will be spearheaded by Tonya Plummer, Executive Director of the Montana Native Growth Fund.

The symposium will take a holistic approach to business-building, addressing topics from learning to deliver a quick, effective marketing pitch, developing a business plan, as well as mental and spiritual empowerment.

Bethany Yellowtail of B. Yellowtail Collective will also be on hand to deliver a presentation  about how she started her business. She will also offer insight on fair pricing, which is of particular interest to Montana entrepreneurs.

“Here in Montana, we have to either order our supplies out or come to Billings, Montana to get them,” Chandler said. “Sometimes, they have to drive three hours to pick up supplies,  so with gas prices and what not,  we want to make sure that they know how to price things accordingly.”

Chandler added that the event is also a way to help cultivate a supportive and uplifting  art and business community.

“Our (goal) is to bring everyone together . We face a lot of lateral violence and tribalism,” Chandler said. “Instead of being crabs in a bucket, we want to start letting people know that’s not cool anymore and we really want to lift each other up and share opportunities with each other.”

Local women are encouraged to participate. For more information visit the website.

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