Gold isn’t the only thing that glitters in the Klondike. For single-mother and entrepreneur Andrea Parent of Dawson City, the pasties she makes sparkle as much as her personality.
Pasties are decorative patches to cover the nipple and areolae, affixed with an adhesive. Though most often worn by dancers in burlesque and erotic entertainment, they are also worn as an undergarment for strapless or sideless dresswear.
If you had told her when she was attending Yukon School of Visual Arts (SOVA) in Dawson City many years ago that she would one day be making and selling pasties, Parent would not have believed you.
It all began in the spring of 2015, when local burlesque entertainer Rachel Wiegers, a.k.a. Yukon Chevonne, and professional dancer Katie Pearse, offered a burlesque dancing course. The 8-class intensive program culminated in individual performances by the participants at a sold-out burlesque extravaganza at the Palace Grand Theatre in Dawson this past May.
Andrea Parent had never done anything like this before, but her desire for empowerment and self-expression led her to sign up.
“It was a beautiful, enriching experience,” says Parent, “and I will do it again!”
What started as an exploration of herself quickly led to an opportunity. “When I made my first pair of pasties it was for my own act,” says Parent. Seeing the pair that she had crafted for herself, a friend asked if she would make her some too. “That fuelled my crafting power and got me into making pasties.”
“When I made my first pair of pasties it was for my own act,” says Parent. Seeing the pair that she had crafted for herself, a friend asked if she would make her some, too.
“That fuelled my crafting power and got me into making pasties.”
Golden Goddess Creations was born.
“From there it escalated,” says Parent. “And now I’ve started pages on Facebook and Etsy to reach out to more people.”
This summer, Parent was able to reach a wider audience, outside of the burlesque scene, by having a booth in the craft sale at the Dawson City Artists Market. She explains that pasties are not just accessories for the burlesque community, but for anyone.
“I want my product to be available to all people, regardless of age or gender.”
“The support of the people of Dawson City has been overwhelming,” Parent says. “They are always encouraging me forward.”
What inspires her designs? Where does it all begin? “The process is simple enough,” she explains. “I create a template out of craft foam, then decorate it however my heart desires.”
Parent’s pasties include the more traditional tassels with sparkling glitter, and a pair with Yukon flags waving proudly.
“Each one is unique, and crafted with love.”
Starting with word of mouth, then seizing opportunities to set up booths at craft shows and events, Parent doesn’t miss a chance to show her wares to the public.
“I love seeing the look on people’s faces when they see my table at the market and they realize what these are.”
At this year’s annual Dawson City League of Lady Wrestlers event, Parent was invited to set up shop ringside, where she promptly sold out of her entire inventory.
“That night was so amazing. Everyone looked so liberated and happy!”
She has now expanded her market to the international community, bringing and selling her product on a recent holiday to Germany and Austria.
Parent is grateful to the people of Dawson City for being so supportive, and to Rachel Wiegers, “for teaching me the art of burlesque and showing me who I can be.”
Moving forward, she hopes to continue to develop her business and expand her clientele, and “to stay true” to herself in her creations.