By FELICITY DARVILLE
WHAT do you get when you combine a hard-working mom with a passion for arts and crafts, a knack for doing business and a commitment to helping the next generation? You get “Something Beautiful” - that’s the name of Kenise Darville’s company, which is gaining popularity in the tumbler world with outstanding drinking pieces that are durable and memorable.
Kenise didn’t start out with a plan; she was just doing what she loved: “I always had a knack for crafts. When my children had school projects, we would be there cutting out stuff for hours. I ended up going online and I found this cutting machine. I used to use it to do projects with my kids. Then, I started going on YouTube and seeing all it could do. I ended up purchasing vinyl and cups. Initially, I made them for family and friends, but when I posted them online, people really liked them.
“So, I bought supplies, and I ended up selling a case of cups in a week. I had to reorder two cases, and in that week, the other two cases were gone … and that’s how Something Beautiful haphazardly started out of nowhere and it grew and grew.”
I came to find out first-hand why her tumbler cups are all the rave when my husband, Victor, bought one for my mother, Agatha and me for Mother’s Day. Each one was thoughtfully created with our names, powerful symbols and words of inspiration. While her small business continues to gain traction, Kenise has decided to start giving back by passing on valuable skills to the next generation - skills which can help them become financially independent.
This year will mark the second annual Something Beautiful Summer Workshop for young people ages eight to 18. Kenise says that when these young people come through her doors, she wants them to leave positively impacted as well as equipped to start their own small business, selling t-shirts, cups and other keepsakes to friends and family. If they stick with it and “go hard in one area they are really passionate about,” Kenise says they have the potential to go global.
That’s her dream - going global with Bahamian made souvenirs that are authentic. Kenise sees Something Beautiful in a location that puts her front and centre with tourists, who can take away souvenirs instantly, or take the time to personalize their item. Her tumblers are already being ordered by people who take them for gifts when they travel the world. Her Instagram handle @somethingbeautiful highlights the places her tumblers have roamed around the world.
“Once I saw the demand, I started buying more and more supplies,” Kenise explained.
“I make customised items like tumblers, t-shirts, keychains, bookmarks… and anything that can be made out of epoxy resin. Cups are my specialty. I love making beautiful cups. I love to see the reaction on people’s faces when they get a tumbler from me. I love to do it - even though my husband calls this an expensive hobby. I tell him that it’s the small things that matter to me. I am happy when my customers are happy.”
In fact, Kenise has been able to build her own workshop in her backyard off her tumbler sales. Her shop has enough space to host workshops, like the one she is about to launch July 4-29, Monday - Friday, 9am - 2pm. During week one, attendees will learn paper crafts such as shadow boxes, cake toppers, paper flowers and making personalized sticker books. In week two, they will work with vinyl decals, which can be applied to any smooth surface, and rhinestones. Week three will cover apparel, including vinyl decor and tie dye. In the final week, youngsters will have a chance to set goals and create a vision board, hear a guest speaker on starting their own business, and display their handiwork at an open house for family and friends to purchase.
Kenise plans to pass on her own principles of success: “This November makes six years since Something Beautiful started. I think I am a staple in the tumbler world. Random people come up to me and say, ‘You are the lady from Something Beautiful!’ I don’t like to toot my own horn but I think I am pretty dope. I love what I do. It doesn’t feel like work to me. I have also grown a passion for sharing or teaching this craft. I want to impact the next generation of girls so they know that not everyone is going to be a teacher or doctor or lawyer. You can find something you love that can be of financial gain to you. Our market here is very strong.”
“Yes, there are still times I feel like I need something more, sure… maybe I should go out and find a job. But many times, I am happy to make a living and still be able to deal with my family full-time. These are the things I love about working for myself. I don’t see myself giving this up in the near future or at all.”
Because her business is home-based, Kenise has the whole family involved. She enjoys the support of her husband, Director of the Bahamas, Technical & Vocational Institute and Director of the Bahamas Natural Resources Foundation, Jerad Darville. Her sons - Anthony, Colman and Chozen have the added advantage of having an understanding of business and interest in saving and investing because they watch their mom grow her business.
Kenise was born to Kenneth and Zella Symonette, and grew up with her parents and her elder brother, Kenneth Jr, a police officer. She attended St. Bede’s Catholic Primary in Kemp Road, near her mother’s family. She then attended Jordan Prince William High School on Zion Boulevard, as she grew up in the Pinewood area and still lives there today. She went to the College of The Bahamas for a year, then entered the workforce. But her entrepreneurial spirit shone through. She has stuck with her cottage industry and has plans to grow the business. In the meantime, she is also engaged in personal growth, as she is enrolled at the Bahamas Agriculture & Marine Science Institute, studying Agribusiness.
“I can definitely tell you that I can see the growth,” she said.
“I remember when I was in my bedroom and the printing machine was on the dresser. I started buying supplies, which took over the hallway, the front room… then every vacant space in the house was taken up by boxes of stuff. That’s when I realised I needed space. I decided to build a workshop. Then it expanded my mind and I said that I want to teach this, especially to young girls. After 10 years of working in the system, I walked away - and I am still able to live.”
Kenise hopes the Something Beautiful Summer Workshop will transform her attendees into smart entrepreneurs, ensuring another generation on the path of financial independence. To register for the workshop, send a WhatsApp message to: (242) 431-0220.