Pitquhikhainik Ilihainik Inc. (PII) is a social enterprise founded in 2018 by the Nunavut non-profit organization Pitquhirnikkut Ilihautiniq. The company is operated by the Kitikmeot Heritage Society (KHS). As a heritage-based organization, KHS receives no core funding and relies on a grant-based funding model. Pitquhikhainik Ilihainik Inc. (which in Inuinnaqtun translates as “the sharing of cultural knowledge”) serves as an experiment in how locally driven businesses can support the Kitikmeot Heritage Society’s (and in turn the community’s) economic, social and research priorities by providing independent sources of funding for program development. The company donates 75% of its annual profits to Inuit culture and language initiatives and seeks to build and support Indigenous business networks across the Arctic and beyond. PII’s first commercial product is Kaapittiaq, an Inuit-branded line of coffee. Kaapittiaq sources its green coffee beans through direct trade with Indigenous co-ops and growers worldwide, prioritizing purchase from businesses motivated by similar values and social missions.
Kaapittiaq’s mission is to create and market a high-quality coffee, whose purchase directly contributes to creating employment and subsidizing cultural revitalization here and abroad. As a solution to the high overhead costs of Arctic import and export shipping, Kaapittiaq’s coffee is roasted and packaged in an Ontario-based facility geared towards the employment and training of urban Inuit.
Kaapittiaq, in Inuinnaqtun means “good coffee”, a reference to both the product’s taste and desired social impact. A major drive behind Kaapittiaq is to find balance between local and global scales of production. The company—guided by a predominantly Inuit board—focuses on innovative ways to support Inuit jobs, priorities and environmental values, while still relying on the harvesting, shipment, and sales of products from around the world. The company also seeks to pioneer new models for Inuit business and social enterprise development through its unconventional governance/ ownership structure, which is founded on Inuit traditions of communal decision-making and benefit.
Over the course of the coming year, Kaapittiaq will focus on increasing its company's global reach while lessening its global footprint. They are investing in more environmentally friendly solutions for becoming a greener business, ranging from the support of sustainable forms of growing, processing, and shipping their coffee beans, to the use of biodegradable packaging and more efficient distribution networks.
Kitikmeot Community Futures Inc. is pleased to support Pitquhikhainik Ilihainik Inc. and their business venture in Kaapittiaq. We look forward to helping them grow through their next phases.
Kaapittiaq can be purchased through many small business across Nunavut, or through its online store at www.kaapittiaqstore.ca.
Maybe Somewhere, www.maybesomewhere.ca, is owned by Inuujaq Leslie Fredlund of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. It began in January 2020. As a married mother of four children, Inuujaq who attended Nunavut Sivuniksavut (Inuit Studies) in Ottawa, and Western Academy of Photography in Victoria, B.C., established Maybe Somewhere as a new form of flexible arts enterprise with a limited footprint business model. Inuujaq says, “I've always been involved in arts and have been self-taught, taught at artists workshops during festivals, and from family and friends.”
Inuujaq founded this company based on her love of the arts and crafts, and her desire to share and promote products she cares about. As a designer and crafter, she considers suppliers not only as friends and extended family but also as partners in offering customers a purchase that impacts the Nunavut economy in a positive and meaningful way. It’s a local business that supports and promotes other local businesses. Key partners and suppliers include favourite brands like Hinaani Inuit Apparel, Sikiniq St Designs, Nu Brew Co, Tundramoon Designs, Kaajuk Fine Jewelery, Cheekbone Beauty, and Kyak Boutique. Inuujaq also adds that Maybe Somewhere values and “consider all our suppliers as major players.”
“In obtaining our mobile boutique we prioritize sourcing equipment and supplies from local and Inuit companies such as JL Repair for Solar Power solutions and Arctic Buying Co. for a trailer and supplies. Our partners range from well established brands, part time crafters, and up and coming designers.”
Maybe Somewhere began as a form of “Pop-Up Shop” to reduce overhead costs and environmental impact. Rather than mobile operation of Maybe Somewhere from boxes and her home, Inuujaq sought assistance from Kivalliq Business Development Centre (a Community Futures Association), Kivalliq Inuit Association and the Government of Nunavut’s Economic Development & Transportation business assistance programs. Her goal was to obtain an enclosed trailer for use as a mobile boutique - equipped with built in displays and powered by a clean solar power alternative energy solution. All three agencies worked together supporting her business and have approved funding for Maybe Somewhere’s capital needs.
“A mobile boutique will allow the company to diversify in location. Offering a fun experience to customers while also targeting large events to reach costumers at their convenience. Target Demographic - Our demographic is wide and diverse. Whether you are an avid Inuit Jewellery collector, someone looking to buy a special loved one a gift, you have an interest in craft brewery apparel & accessories, you love fashion and make-up, or your visiting the town and want a souvenir – your treasures await at Maybe Somewhere. We carry products ethically sourced and made by Inuit, Nunavummiut and Indigenous suppliers fit for every age and every gender.”
If you’re in Rankin Inlet and seek to shop, Maybe Somewhere may pop-up at locations or events you attend!