By ALEXANDRIA ALVAREZ
POLSON, Montana — What started out as a small hobby has lead to her dream of opening her own business as Shoshone-Bannock tribal member Vanessa Sanchez opens Apatura on March 21 in Polson, Montana.
She said she couldn’t be more excited about it.
The name Apatura came from her daughter Domonique’s middle name that means, “Irish Butterfly.” She wanted the bead and supply store to symbolize her.
“All of this started out online, and on Facebook. I love to travel, and often I will bring my beadwork projects with me. Then people wanted to start buying from me, and I began branching out, and started selling rhinestones and rhinestone banding with sewing supplies such as thread and needles,” said Sanchez.
The money that was generated from selling online and at different powwows through this last summer alone was enough to keep her family financially stable and had given her the flexibility to expand her item selection. When powwow season was over, Vanessa began looking at local craft fairs and bazars around Montana and traveled home to Fort Hall to try her luck at the Fort Hall Festival and Christmas bazars. Sanchez was pleased with both events and said one of the biggest sellers at the Christmas bazar this past winter was her Pendleton mittens.
Despite her excitement, Sanchez admitted that she had a few concerns about opening up a shop. Her biggest concern is the competition because of the many bead stores that are in existence in the area, but thanks to the encouragement of friends and family, Sanchez went ahead and found a space, got her tax ID, and Tuesday officially received her business license.
“Things just began to fall in place, the space we found was a nice location, and the lady we were renting from was really nice. Now we are waiting to have our store inspected by the Fire Marshall who will make sure we are abiding by the rules, check for hazards, make sure our exit signs are clearly marked, ensure that we have fire extinguishers, and clear ally ways for people to get out in case of an emergency. After that we will receive an occupancy notification. We hope to have by this week so we will be ready to open Saturday,” said Sanchez.
Apatura will carry an array of beads: size 11 neon beads, Swarovski crystals, a bigger collection of center gem stones, including cabs, needles, wax, thread, a variety of rhinestone banding, size 15 and 11 Japanese seed beads, size 13 and 11 cut beads, size 11 seed beads, size 9 and 12 tri top beads, and a bigger array of rhinestone banding, earring posts and hooks.
Sanchez said she plans to continue expanding her items, and hopes to sell finished products as well such as the Pendleton mittens, purses, baby moccasins, and Shoshone-Bannock beadwork. She hopes to cater to the students of Salish Kootenai College (SKC), and plans to hold beading classes in her shop.
“I’ve taught several classes before, and I hope to have classes to teach beginners and intermediate. I want to teach classes to younger kids too, and I would really like to teach the boys and girls club; I’ve had students come to my shop to learn how to bead after school, and I want to extend that to adults too,” she said.
Sanchez recently graduated from Salish Kootenai College with her Bachelor in Education, and Bachelors in Science and Elementary and laughed when talking about her new roles as a businesswoman.
“I’m going to be teaching how to bead moccasins, and earrings, so it evens out,” she laughed.
She added her family has been very supportive and despite her doubts, they encouraged her to follow her dreams. Her significant other, Joseph Lumpry also encouraged her and has been at her side to help.
Sanchez wished to acknowledge and thank her family — her mother Shannon Calico, her father Ray Sanchez, her three brothers Bryson, Brodie, and Joseph, and her sister Raelyn. Vanessa has a daughter, Dominique “Dommie” He-Crow. Her maternal grandparents are Arlinda and Lee Ross “Whitey” Jones, her paternal grandparents are the late Clemente and the late Maggie Sanchez.
The address of her shop is #6 Fourth Avenue East Polson, Montana 59860, right across from Tribal Health. To contact her for items to buy or sell, you can call her cell phone at (406) 249-2430, or visit her Facebook page: fb.com/apatura.beadwork. Her email address is email@example.com
In the future she plans to open a website, and looks forward to opening day this weekend where they will have food, drinks, and prizes throughout the day.