Inuit fasion designer, Taalrumiq in a submitted photo.
Tuktoyaktuk fashion designer Christina King, known by her Inuit name Taalrumiq, won three awards worth $7,000 in this year’s Pow Wow Pitch, a contest for Indigenous entrepreneurs across Turtle Island.
The pitch program awards over $250,000 in funding to entrepreneurs in Canada and the United States, aiming to help them sustainably accelerate their businesses’ growth.
After submitting a pitch earlier this summer, Taalrumiq qualified for the semi-finals in September. Finishing as a runner up in the semi-finals, she then qualified for the finals through the People’s Choice Award, a fan-based voting award.
Taalrumiq’s business – also under the name Taalrumiq – is an Inuvialuit couture fashion label and does Inuit fine art and consultancy. The designer also creates digital content for TikTok, providing cultural education in the form of workshops, cultural presentations, and public speaking.
“It was overwhelming, it’s all new to me to have this kind of support,” said Taalrumiq.
“I was really thrilled, my followers came through. The messages of support and encouragement and people saying they voted for me was really nice and I really feel the love.”
Taalrumiq entered the finals as the only Inuit finalist, something she said was a big achievement.
“It was a lot of pressure, but it also shows that anything is possible,” she said.
“If I was able to get this far, then other Inuit certainly can as well.”
Taalrumiq says the circumstances of her final pitch were less than ideal, as she pitched in a hotel room 30-minutes past check-out time. However, her pitch won her an Alumni Award, an award given to pitchers from previous years.
“While I didn’t place first, second, or third, it was still really cool to get that recognition,” she told Cabin Radio.
“When I first submitted my initial video entry, it took a lot of courage to get past the thoughts of, ‘Am I even worthy of this? Am I a real entrepreneur?’
“I really didn’t expect to make it as far as I did and to be alongside other entrepreneurs who are so amazing and successful, it was a really good feeling and it’s very humbling as well.”
As a runner up in the semi-finals round, Taalrumiq was awarded a $1,000 Aritzia Fashion Grant. The People’s Choice Award granted her another $1,000, and the alumni prize won in the finals awarded her $5,000.
Going forward, she says she plans to use the prize money to formally register her business, help with accounting and bookkeeping, purchase a luxury branding and logo package, and launch her website.
“It’s really going to help me to be more professional and more successful, and I’m just really thankful for this opportunity,” she said.
“Considering what my family has been through, my parents who are residential school survivors, it’s amazing to go through this achievement, it’s very humbling, but I’m also thrilled and excited for the future.”