Laura Asham is the Founder behind Asham Creations, an award-winning company that sells puppets for educational purposes. After getting her entrepreneurial start creating beadwork projects, Laura saw a market opportunity for educational puppets and embraced the potential for a new business concept .
Laura Asham has been beadworking since she was seven years old. After learning the art from her mother and sister, Laura found a love for the craft. In 2008, she began designing various beadwork projects as a part-time business while she finished her education in social work.
“Beading was a hobby, but something I am very passionate about. I love making things that people enjoy. I have sent beadwork as far as New Zealand, and created medallions for three Ministers of Canada.”
In 2010, Laura’s daughter was entering a princess pageant at her school and needed a talent to compete. “I suggested that she use a puppet to showcase Blackfoot words. Me being the person I am had to go above and beyond. It took me two days and 11 hours to create one puppet. I ended up having extra material left over, so I decided to create a native set for the elementary school on my nation.”
Her newfound hobby quickly shifted into her greatest business opportunity. She started selling puppet sets to schools across a variety of First Nation communities in Alberta. Since then she has had requests from schools as far as Peguis First Nation in Manitoba where they had a school-wide naming ceremony for the characters.
“It has been so good to see that the puppets are not only bringing joy to people, but they are teaching children how to speak Blackfoot. Many schools on the Siksika Nation are now teaching full immersion programs.”
Laura participated in AWE’s NextStep to Success Program for Indigenous Women this past year. She said it was great to have the assistance she needed to create her business plan.
“As I plan to expand my business and build-out a commercial space, I knew that I needed to get my business plan together. The NextStep program was very helpful to me.”
Laura is in the process of finishing her business plan and securing funding to open her first commercial space.
“Right now I have been so focused on my local market and keeping up with that. I hope that in 10 years time we have covered Canada and moved into international markets.”