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We had a great time at this year’s National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s RES Conference in Las Vegas, where three of our team members were able to meet with businesses, innovators, and entrepreneurs from across Indian Country. Not only did we make new friends, we had the chance to deepen some important relationships with fellow community members.
One of the highlights of the conference for us was to watch Ahsaki LaFrance-Chachere (Diné and African American), founder and CEO of Ah-Shi Beauty, accept the 2021 Native Woman Business Owner of Year award. Meaning “this is me, this is mine, that’s me” in Navajo, Ah-Shi Beauty is the first Native American owned and operated luxury skincare and cosmetics brand in America. Their goal is to empower and inspire people of all ages to revel in the uniqueness of themselves and their skin. In a beauty industry that doesn’t often cater to or even consider darker skin tones, Ah-Shi Beauty’s wide array of tones and colors puts representation and inclusion at the forefront of their selection.
Ahsaki LaFrance-Chachere (Diné and African American), founder of Ah-Shi Beauty, with Eighth Generation's Stephanie Masterman (Tlingit), Serene Lawrence (Ojibwe, Hopi), and Adriana Perrusquia (Yup'ik)
“My customers set their own beauty standards,” says Ahsaki. “It is my responsibility that when my customers look in the mirror, they see themselves, feel empowered and continue to love the skin they are in.”
The Eighth Generation team was fortunate to have our Trade Show booth located next to Ah-Shi Beauty’s booth, where our Chief Operating Officer Serene Lawrence (Ojibwe, Hopi), Retail and Special Projects Manager Stephanie Masterman (Tlingit), and Project Manager Adriana Perrusquia (Yup'ik) had the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time with Ahsaki and her family.
The Eighth Generation team with Ahsaki and her family
At RES, we also got to cheer for Serene and Stephanie, who were both included on the "40 Under 40" list. This prestigious national award recognizes 40 American Indians from across Indian Country who have made significant contributions in business and the community through leadership, initiative, and dedication.
Serene, who is Loon Clan from the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, displayed an incredible dedication to our community in the early days of the pandemic, when she coordinated Eighth Generation's huge donation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to struggling health clinics. According to National Geographic, Serene’s hard work meant that Eighth Generation "did in eight days what the federal and state government hadn't been able to do in four months."
Stephanie, at only 25 years old, was among the youngest recipients of the 40 Under 40 award. Stephanie (Sxhaalghen) is Alaska Native and belongs to the Tlingit Wooshkeetaan clan from the village of Hoonah. She manages special projects, as well retail activities at our Pike Place Market flagship store. In addition, Stephanie was chosen as a future leader by her tribal community and the city of Juneau.
We’re so proud of you, Serene and Stephanie!
Serene and Stephanie with their awards