Have you ever found yourself looking at art and artists envying their ability to create? Have you ever wanted to express yourself through your own creativity, whether it be crafting a display piece or a wardrobe unique to you, and yet felt that you wouldn’t be able to, that you don’t have the skills necessary to do so? Well, the truth is that you are not alone. For various reasons, many of us have found ourselves with similar mental blocks, fearful that what we have to offer in a creative space won’t be enough – and therefore we shouldn’t even try.
Fortunately, you don’t have to fear any longer, as April Mitchell-Boudreau, and her line of customizable jewelry, Lofttan (rhyming with often – Just think “Wear your Lofttan often”) are here to tell you that you most certainly can.
Even April considers herself an “accidental entrepreneur”. Despite having a background in design, she never set out to start a business of her own. Much like her jewelry – which she prefers to let the materials inspire her as to what they should become – her businesses, BeadQueen and Lofttan Convertible Jewelry, developed organically, growing out of a simple desire to keep her hands and mind busy while on bedrest with her second child. Developing her own business was so far from her mind, that when she was lamenting the end of her maternity leave with that same child, wishing that she could work from home to spend more time with her family, she didn’t even realize that the answer was literally sitting in her lap at that very moment, in the form of her bead basket.
From her early days of selling to friends and family to her very first show (Country Christmas in Bolton, Ontario), where she realized that strangers were willing to pay for her work, an idea began to grow and take hold. So many women would tell her how they wished that they were creative – and April wanted to prove to them that they were. Enter Lofttan (named after the initials of her nieces and nephews), a line of completely customizable and convertible jewelry. Through the use of easy-to-use clips and clasps, any piece of Lofttan jewelry and accessories can be adjusted and combined to create any design or length desired. April provides the building blocks, but leaves it’s up to you to create the look that inspires you.
Easy and accessible to nearly everyone, regardless of perceived limitations, there are a lot of perks to Lofttan Jewelry, but what it’s really all about is erasing any stigma that there is only one way a woman should look or dress, and instead create a space for people to genuinely play and discover what they are capable of. Receiving messages from people who are thrilled and surprised by what they have done with her jewelry is considered one of April’s greatest privileges.
A proud member of the Turtle Clan and Mohawk Nation with roots at Six Nations, April keeps her culture and traditions close as she creates. While she might not incorporate traditional beading into her craft, she still uses traditional materials, such as sustainably sourced wood, shells and semi-precious stones. While she and her husband are currently only able to support one part time employee at the moment, it’s their goal to grow their business to the point in which they can offer several jobs to the Indigenous community.
This past month alone, they introduced two special projects that have strong roots in their community and their family. The first is a special Sterling silver pendant designed in honour of the last member of April’s family to have been in a Residential “School”, her great-grandmother Lydia Ruth. Lofttan’s BlingBox has also been launched in time for holiday giving, a Limited Edition, curated collection that gives back, and features bundled pricing. Committed to her community, this Autumn she collaborated on The Harvest Box as a joint project with three other Indigenous, female-led companies.
A portion of the proceeds from the sterling pendant and the BlingBoxes will be going into the Lydia Ruth Arts Scholarship Fund, created to facilitate Indigenous students who want to study the Arts, while honouring her Matriarch. April truly believes in the healing Medicine of Creativity, and uses what she can to enable as many people as possible to pursue it at any level. It’s really all about the ability to express yourself, whoever you may be, and however you wish to do so.
April has become a sought-after speaker and teacher, speaking on entrepreneurship, and has recently been nominated for a WIBA (Women in Business Award) for entrepreneurship. She also teaches interactive beading workshops, blending cultural teachings like the Medicine Wheel, while creating a beaded Medicine Wheel bracelet with participants.
If you have ever doubted your own ability to “create”, then it’s important for you to know that April knows that you can. Visit Lofttan’s social pages to see her videos so that you can learn the roots of this amazing jewelry, and of course, discover that you really can create for yourself.
Written by: Jillian Kent