"I pride myself on quality, not quantity."Candace, Fat Daug
What’s the story behind your shop’s name?
Fat Daug stands for 'Father Daughter' and the art of antler carving passed on to me by my father.
What’s the most favourite thing you’ve made and why?
That's a tough one! My first moose antler feather I would say. I fell in love with carving and that's the day Fat Daug was born.
What was your most memorable experience with a customer?
This customer didn't actually buy something. She was three years old and could barely see over the table. I noticed the girl's mother had taken her aside for a little talk after perusing my jewelry. She was explaining to her daughter that she didn't have to give me money to show her appreciation of the jewelry. She could just tell me it was nice. However, after their chat they must have come to an agreement. With only her eyes and the top of her head showing, this wee one proceeds to slide me a quarter because she 'loved my pendants'. And because it was one of the sweetest things I've ever witnessed, I gifted her with a feather pendant. I remember what it was like being a kid and only having a quarter. I've made it a rule that no deserving child leaves my table without a Fat Daug, no matter their two dollar or five dollar 'budget'. Their smiles are payment enough. Hopefully they'll wear their Fat Daug for years to come and maybe even pass it on.
What’s the most difficult part about what you make?
There are many steps in creating every pendant or pair of earrings so it's quite time-consuming. However that's why I pride myself on quality, not quantity.
What advice would you give a maker who’s just starting out?
Believe in your craft! Don't give up. Put yourself out there. Do your homework. Know what your customers want. And never turn down an interview!
What do you love most about what you make and being a maker?
The medium itself. Each antler is unique and different and I never know the color or texture it will be until it is cut. I also make the most amazing connections with people by sharing my story and heritage.
What sparked your decision and motivated you to start becoming a maker?
Being indigenous, we believe in using all parts of the animal that has sustained us. It is my way of honouring the animal's spirit through the pieces I create. It is a way of keeping one grounded to Mother Earth.
How does your product connect with your customer/community?
I am Métis and it is well received in the indigenous community as well as beyond. You don't have to be indigenous to wear a Fat Daug. Some customers buy pieces for healing, some for protection, or to ground themselves, others just because they found something that speaks to them. I have laughed and shared tears with many customers and it's that sharing energy that people are just attracted to. They enjoy learning about the craft and Métis culture and what we represent as a company.
What are some of the typical questions or interactions you have at markets and what are your responses?
Most typical is 'YOU made all of these?' Yes. Yes I did and I love it! and... 'Fat Daug stands for Father Daughter? That's so awesome that you get to work with your Dad!' Also... 'Where do you source your antler?' They are never purchased. We get many donations. People who have had them for years now have a reason to 'get rid of them'. In doing so I always make a fair trade for whatever Fat Daug they wish. Sometimes I'll carve a piece from the antler given to me in memory of that particular harvest. Sometimes we'll trade for art work or even canning!
What was your biggest challenge you faced when starting your handmade business?
All the admin work! I am also a graphic designer so that included my website design, business card and logo design, product images and editing, content upload not to mention not knowing what markets are all about!