Social work

Entrepreneur Combines His Passion for Social Work and Aesthetics at an Indigenous Beauty Academy

A 90-minute drive from Saskatoon lies a unique, life-changing opportunity.

“I have always been passionate about social work as well as fighting for Indigenous rights as well as my love for aesthetics,” said Danielle Matte.

Matte teaches an aesthetics class to 10 Mosquito First Nation students.

She first became a beautician as a teenager before turning to social work. At the start of the pandemic, she returned to her original passion.

“I was originally asked to bring an eyelash class up north and the first place I went was to La Loche,” Matte said.

This experience has taken Matte to visit six different First Nations across Saskatchewan and Alberta where she teaches six-week aesthetic courses to dozens of Native people.

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More recently, she has brought her traditional teaching methods to the Mosquito First Nation.

“Opportunities like this don’t come around very often, so when I saw it I thought I’d give it a shot,” student Neanna Pritchard said.

Pritchard first heard about the beauty class in her First Nation on social media. The 23-year-old was undecided about his career path but that has now changed.

“My first week of training, she offered me a job,” Pritchard said. “After completing this course, I will be moving to Saskatoon to help out at the academy.”

The academy, called Redefined Co. and located in downtown Saskatoon, is Matte’s newest project.

She moves her school to a permanent location while offering salon and spa services.

“I can create an experience and an environment that will be a safe place for Indigenous people,” Matte said.

Matte has always dreamed of integrating his two worlds, social work and aesthetics.

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Its academy will have an Indigenous advisor always on site, and students will learn about financial literacy and how to run a successful business.

Redefined Co. will host its first class in September, but Matte hopes it will be the first of many.

“Eventually, we want to have education available across Canada,” Matte said.

She is driven to continue to educate and inspire as many Indigenous communities as possible.

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