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Canadian startup S.H.B Apparel is crowdfunding for a brand that raises awareness of indigenous suicide. (Credit: S.H.B. Apparel Facebook page)
Canadian startup S.H.B Apparel is crowdfunding for a brand that raises awareness of indigenous suicide. (Credit: S.H.B. Apparel Facebook page)

Amanda Sanderson is an indigenous woman from the Saulteaux First Nation in Saskatchewan, Canada. She is also a business owner who’s growing a clothing company called S.H.B. Apparel from the ground up — and crowdfunding to launch her first line.

But Sanderson aims to do much more than sell empowering shirts and hats. She plans to use her company to raise awareness about the high risk of suicide among indigenous peoples, and to lift up sisters and brothers in need of hope.

Sanderson started S.H.B Apparel (the initials stand for Spirit Hope Beauty) after watching her own daughters struggle with suicidal thoughts. “My vision and my inspiration all started with my oldest daughter, and right now it is my younger daughter who needs this support,” she says in the campaign. “S.H.B. Apparel will be that voice and raise suicide awareness for those that struggle with suicide, and support those families that lost a loved” one.

Suicide is a significant problem for Canada’s indigenous community. In fact, for peoples of the First Nations, suicide and self-inflicted harm are the leading causes of death for those aged 44 and under.

So far, Sanderson has designed clothing and hats featuring empowering messages like “live your life fearlessly,” held promotional photoshoots and interviewed young men and women who have struggled with suicidal thoughts. She also organizes conferences and workshops, and will be leading a suicide-awareness rally later this month. S.H.B. Apparel will donate a portion of its proceeds to related causes.

“We are a start-up business, ready to launch, and we are exploring all areas so we can be that voice and raise suicide awareness,” she says.

The Money: Sanderson has 18 days to reach her Indiegogo fundraising goal of $10,000. Any money generated by the campaign will go toward inventory and advertising costs related to launching the brand this summer.

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