Fashioning Change: Kokom Scrunchies is Stitching Together a Legacy
Thirteen-year-old Mya is proving that entrepreneurship knows no boundaries. High school freshman and founder of Kokom Scrunchies, Mya didn’t initially intend to start a business at the young age of nine—she was looking for a way to give back to the youth in her community.
“I was inspired by my auntie, Dana, to give back to my community,” said Mya. “Originally, it was a fundraiser because I needed to make money to buy gifts for the youth. It was so successful that I met my financial goal within six months and decided to turn it into an online business at kokomscrunchies.ca!”
With a wealth of creative ideas and the support of her family, Kokom Scrunchies continued to grow—and Mya quickly learned that doing it all is nearly impossible, especially when juggling responsibilities as a student.
“At first, it was just me making the scrunchies. I would do everything after school and on the weekends,” she explained. “When the demand started to grow, I needed help, so my mom, my brother, and my dad joined me, and we became a family team. Now, we all have jobs within Kokom Scrunchies. Having a supportive team is so important.”
Marcie, Mya’s mother, seconds this statement, sharing that one of the many benefits of working together as a family is that everyone is on the same page, so they can come together when things get busy.
One of the standout features of Kokom Scrunchies is the unique meaning behind each product, down to the very fabric they are made of.
“The core Kokom Scrunchies collection is made from Kokom Scarves, worn by our elders,” said Marcie. “It’s a nice blend of taking something from the past and incorporating it into the present by creating a product that everyone can wear. Our scrunchies are meant for everyone, young and old alike.”
Mya revealed that when she first started creating the scrunchies, she named each one after her Indigenous role models, honouring her heritage and the heroes she looks up to. Now, that mission has expanded even further, adding new layers of meaning to these unique accessories.
“I wanted to honour my role models by naming the original Kokom Scrunchies after them,” Mya shared. “As my business grows, I meet many people who inspire me. To this day, I still honour others by naming limitededition scrunchies after them. It’s important to me to show others how special they are and highlight their amazing work.”
Mya and her family already have a lengthy list of proud moments: this past September, Kokom Scrunchies was invited to New York Fashion Week for a collaboration with Indigenous designer Scott Wabano. Earlier this year, they celebrated the launch of the first Kokom Scrunchies vending machine in Ottawa’s Bayshore Shopping Centre—an especially proud moment for Mya.
“I really wanted to put my vending machine at Bayshore—I pitched my idea to them, and they loved it! Within a few months, I had my vending machine installed.”
This is Canada's first-ever Kokom Scrunchies Vending machine, but Mya knows it won't be the last.
“My goal has always been to have Kokom Scrunchies in stores everywhere,” she said. “The vending machine is like having a store that runs itself!”
Her advice for young entrepreneurs is simple but powerful: start small and don’t be afraid to promote your products.
“Use social media to promote your products, have a support team, and set goals,” she said. “Kokom Scrunchies started as an idea, $15 and a sewing machine. It’s definitely possible to start small and grow.”
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