My name is Katonhetsheri:io, Ashley Rae-Ann Clark. I was born and raised in Kingston, Ontario and my family is Bear Clan from the Wahta Mohawk community in Muskoka, Ontario.
I began Bougie Birch in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic after losing my job. Suffering from what doctor's thought was double-carpal tunnel after a university degree and 10-year career in the restaurant industry. I found myself being forced into a career change at the age of 29. It was at this time that I decided to take the opportunity to return to my roots as a source of healing physically, mentally, and spiritually after having this sudden life-changing event seemingly rip my world from under me. Little did I know that this was the opportunity for which I had been waiting.
When I was a child, my parents were continuously buying me scrapbook supplies, bead kits, and string. They were emptying my pockets of rocks and other pieces of nature I picked up along my busy toddler travels. This little girl began to resurface, after being forgotten, being such a busy adult. The pandemic made the busy adult stop and listen for the first time in a long time to that little girl. As time went on her voice got louder in the healing process and even that busy adult couldn't do anything to make her quiet again. So that adult stepped back and allowed the little girl to express herself, her healing, her decolonization through art once again.
......Only this time that little girl also had 10 years of business experience on her side so she took it to a whole new level. She created Bougie Birch.