SWEETGRASS HARVEST — Toni McClue, of Montana Sweetgrass Etc., demonstrates for students of Harlem High School how to harvest sweetgrass properly so as not to tear it at the root. I-O Photo by Deanna Wakkinen
By I-O Reporter Deanna Wakkinen
On a modest farm not far from Brady city limits grows a small crop of sweetgrass. Three years ago, Toni McClue created the company Montana Sweetgrass Etc. and has made a name for herself creating products that are endorsed with the Made in Montana and Grown in Montana label from her small crop.
McClue grew up in Conrad and is a Native American member of the Chippewa Cree tribe. She works together with close friends and family to build up her stock. Her son Thad McClue has recently joined her team to assist her in marketing.
She began by selling at the Farmer’s Market in Great Falls and during her first day, she completely sold out. In preparation for the next market, she brought double the stock and sold out yet again.
Seeing the success of her products, McClue added more variety and stocked up for the Made in Montana show. Now, her products are available in nearly 30 stores and she uses Facebook to reach out even further. She soon hopes to sell on etsy.com and ebay.com.
Her great business ethics and wholesome Montana products have drawn attention and she has been featured in the Great Falls Tribune’s Ag Outlook magazine. She also drew attention from the Harlem School District which is east of Havre.
Students in Business and Agriculture classes were invited by their teachers to learn marketing schemes, see how products are made and distributed and to learn about harvesting and growing sweetgrass.
McClue’s products include candles, perfume, soap, linen spray, bath tea, air fresheners, bath salts, sweetgrass braids and more.
For more information, contact McClue at 899-3433 or find her online at http://www.facebook.com/MTSweetgrassEtc .