Introducing Yukon Makes

Landscape photo of a river running through a valley in Yukon

Following on to Toronto Makes, we went northwest to feature makers living in, and inspired by, the rugged beauty of the Yukon. This curated collection of 12 extraordinary makers, selected in partnership with Yukon Tourism, illustrates how small arts businesses make a big difference as hubs for culture and development in rural areas. Yukon Makes amplifies the voices of these creators through digital storytelling, workshops, and cross-country events — an invitation to bridge the distance and explore a diverse creative community from a wildly beautiful place.

The collection of makers include:

 
Product photo of 3 bars of Anto Yukon soap

Anto Yukon
Anto Yukon founder Kym Rempel is a fieldworker in wilderness management who uses her knowledge of local flora to gather natural ingredients for her fragrant soaps. Each bar is hand poured, cured and wrapped in brightly hued packaging featuring the work of Canadian artists. She’s turned a home-based hobby into a thriving bath and body business complete with a studio and retail space in Whitehorse.

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Aurum Skincare
Featuring the remarkable beauty benefits of boreal birch, Aurum Skincare products are designed to soothe and protect the most fragile and inflamed skin. This award-winning brand was created by Elise McCormick and Joanna Sherrand. The raw birch water and bio-ferment they use is sustainably harvested and locally manufactured on the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation.

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Product Photo of Aurum's Calming Birch Serum

 

 
Photo of a handcrafted knife and sheath by Bandit Blades

Bandit Blades
George Roberts, owner of Bandit Blades, has been handcrafting custom knives for over three decades. Each engraved blade is ground by hand from a solid steel bar and comes with a crafted leather sheath. They are works of art but Roberts designs them to be used — and to last for generations.

 

Blake Lepine
Multidisciplinary artist Blake Lepine of the Carcross Tagish First Nation is of Tlingit, Han, Cree and Scottish descent. Lepine’s work is inspired by Tlingit carvings and he’s spent years developing a style that’s uniquely his own in his carvings, prints, beading, textiles, paintings and design work.

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Photo of a block print by Blake Lepine

 

 
Photo of a birch basket made by Christine Sam

Christine Sam
Christine is a White River Northern Tutchone artist from Beaver Creek, Yukon. She creates handmade traditional baskets and bowls made of birch bark, willow and spruce root.

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Firebean Coffee Roasters
Michael Russo, founder of Firebean Coffee, believes if it’s easy, it’s not worth it! At Firebean Coffee, they use a traditional wood-fired roasting method. Being out in the bush surrounded by fire and the smell of fresh roasted coffee makes him feel connected — and produces a great cup of coffee.

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Product photo of a bag of Firebean Coffee

 


photo of hand beaded moccasins made by Gertie Tom

 

Gertie Tom
Artist Gertie Tom was inducted into the Order of Yukon in 2021 for her work revitalizing Northern Tutchone language and culture. She started sewing to preserve traditional skills she feared would otherwise be lost. Tom’s garments, including mukluks and mitts, are often intricately beaded with patterns passed down from her grandmother.

 

Klondike Kettle Corn
Katie Young built her popcorn business one bag at a time, starting at community markets. Now, Klondike Kettle Corn makes over 50 delicious flavours, including birch caramel, a true taste of the Yukon. It’s sold at grocery stores and gift shops across the territory but remains a family business at heart.

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Product photograph of a bag of Klondike Kettle Corn

 


Product photo of bath salts by The Yukon Soaps Company

The Yukon Soaps Company
Joella Hogan creates soaps and wellness products using local plants from the boreal forest to support her Mayo community. As founder of The Yukon Soaps Company, Hogan draws on her professional background as a heritage worker — she’s focused on contributing to her community and dedicated to honoring the land, knowledge, and culture of her Northern Tetchone First Nation ancestors.

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Virginia Smith
Inland Tlingit-artist Virginia Smith of Tagish First Nation learned to sew from her grandmother. Her skills grew into a passion for sewing traditional clothing and creating intricate beadwork. As an elementary school teacher in Carcross, she says her other love is teaching — and her lucky students get lessons in beadwork throughout the school year, ensuring that these traditional skills are passed along to the next generation.   

 

Photo of a flower beaded pin by Virginia Smith

 

Product photo of wolverine fur hoop earrings by wild yukon furs

Wild Yukon Furs
Made with wild fur sourced by Indigenous trappers, Vanessa  Ægirsdóttir's beautiful small batch jewellery will transform your outfit. But the textile and jewellery designer is focused on making a much larger positive impact, too. Together, she and her husband George Bahm created Wild Yukon Furs to support local trappers who are Indigenous, or who work to support Indigenous communities.

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Many of the makers are Indigenous and include traditional materials and practices in their work. Some, like Joella Hogan from Yukon Soaps, have recently found their way to making products, and others, like Gertie Tom, have been making their wares for their entire lives. 

Photo of the yukon soaps company bath salts and a landscape photo of the yukon
landscape photo of the yukon and a photo of firebean coffee
"During my time in Kluane National Park, I got to travel to incredible backcountry — spots that I fell deeply in love with, and I held that love with me — I really wanted to think about a way to bring people there in every way I could. To make people feel, or see these places that are so special."

Kym Rempel — Anto Yukon

photo of beaded moccasins and a photo of emerald lake in the yukon
Landscape photo of the yukon and a photo of 2 bars of anto yukon soapoap

Landscape Photo Credit:Tobin Seagel (Image 1), Rhonda Krause Photography (Image 2), Peter O'hara and Jenna Dixon (Image 3, 4), Hecktic Travels (Image 5)

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