C&D was a small Winnipeg store specializing in the production and retail sale of native crafts. Carrie was responsible for the four-person production facility located at the rear of the store. Her time was spent at tasks including assembling dream catchers, sewing leather jackets, and creating jewelry items. Derek’s responsibilities included sales to the store’s retail clients, dealing with raw material suppliers, visiting C&D’s many clients across the prairies, and holding numerous meetings relating to the company’s expansion plans. Derek typically generated many new ideas for the business, although the couple usually relied on Carrie’s sound judgment in assessing their viability. Carrie also provided the perseverance and sense of conviction required to face the everyday challenges of their business.
C&D faced excellent long-term prospects created by the seemingly insatiable demand for its products. The company could grow to several times its present size in the next few months if it succeeded in expanding the present cottage industry level of operations into a full-fledged mass production facility. However, a larger operation would create additional managerial and financial problems for them to address. In order to take advantage of all potential growth opportunities, C&D would need a substantial injection of external capital. However, Carrie and Derek’s experience in raising capital was limited to their previous efforts to obtain start-up funding for their business from a federal government agency dealing with aboriginal development.
Origins of the business
C&D Arts and Crafts was established in April 1992 by Derek and Carrie Erstelle. Both Derek and Carrie had enjoyed spending their free time producing artwork that reflected their native heritage, including items such as drums, carved bone pendants, leather gun sheaths, masks, knives, leather pouches, moccasins, horn-based utensils, among many others. Over the years, these art pieces gradually came to...