Teenager De’Shaia Ventour has taken her creative talents and turned them into a business move. This Detroit, Michigan tenth grader has taken duct tape and a few creative ideas and turned up the crafting world a notch with her own set of duct tape accessories at Her Hands Are Crafty, LLC. She’s building and wrapping up her legacy and sealing it all with success.
When did you start making your duct tape creations? How did you start and what made you turn it into a business?
I first started my journey at the age of 9 hand sewing and designing clothes and purses out of old clothes and any fabrics I could scrap up. I then moved on to making outfits out of duct tape for my Barbie dolls. I proceeded to create my own accessories, starting out with pens then rings and bi-fold wallets. I decided to turn my hobby into a business in 2011 when I started getting compliments on my accessories and people were interested in buying. I was so surprised because people actually wanted to pay me for something I made.
I just love the fact that people want to carry around a piece of me no matter where they go and they love my unconventional art just like me. My family from my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, cousins, uncles, have been very supportive of me and invested in me in some way, whether buying me supplies, encouragement, fabrics, making purchases, promoting me, etc.
I am currently a part of a non-profit organization, Mint Artists Guild that helps builds young Detroit artists by supplying business advice that helps us build a platform and turn our art into a business and connects us with other artists. The program also gives us the chance to sell our products at various art fairs across the state and we have monthly meetups where we learn the business side of art or keeps us bettering our craft.
What is the turn-around time on your products if someone wants something custom?
It all depends on what the order consist of, my workload, homework, etc. but usually it takes 10-14 days, but sometimes it can be 3 weeks.
What is your price-point for the standard items that you offer?
Pens – $10, Rings – $7, coin pouches – $5, accordion wallets – $10, inside out wallets are $8, compact wallets are $10, Bi-folds range from $10-13, clutches range from $25-28, décor – $35 and up, depending on the size of the canvas and specialty items (limited edition tape, collection pieces/themes (like the sorority line I am currently working), name brand tapes (like Disney, Barbie, Batman, etc) all differ in prices, usually a little higher.
What are your two top biggest sellers?
My two top sellers are my pens and accordion wallets. Rings are my favorite duct tape statement pieces to make.
What other hobbies do you have?
My hobbies consist of cooking, listening to music, unwinding with my family or friends and I overall just love going out. I am currently learning French and am enjoying it. I am a girly girl, so I love fashion, modeling, and shopping.
Even when I was little I always and still do dream of being a contestant on Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model. When I get older I would love to travel across America then eventually the world. I just love the idea of traveling and learning new things and cultures and helping and connecting with people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
Who inspires you?
I just love, fashion designer Char Glover. She was born and raised in Detroit and went on to become a contestant on my favorite TV show Project Runway and made all the way to become the final 4 and was able to present her awesome collection in New York Fashion Week.
She also attended the same high school I attend now, Cass Technical High School and she is self-taught seamstress. I just wake up and live for her clothes. She just motivates me to do it all. Her style and how she carries herself is just out of this world.
How would you like to expand your business in the future?
I would eventually want to partner up with a wedding planner and make centerpieces bouquet flowers, local apparel businesses, such as Detroit vs. Everybody, I want to branch out with more décor pieces and hope to be able to my décor in homes, offices, etc. and even partner with an interior designer, and creating relationships with banks, making wallets that are given to bank members for opening a business account or something.
Hosting workshops is in the future and of course being a vendor at more art fairs and events. My mom and I discussed doing some pop-ups over the city.
It is hope of mine to create my clutches or rings for red carpet events, galas, prom, homecoming, conferences, etc. That would be really cool. I am also expanding my line and will be experimenting with doing make-up bags, earrings and wreaths (I made a wreath and a pair of earrings before but need to perfect it) and I get ton of requests for cellphone cases and business cards holders so I am considering these items as well.
Tell our readers on where they can find you online and how they can place orders (do you accept PayPal, etc.) or where they can find you (shops or fairs) so they can purchase?
My next art fair won’t be until mid-2018 and I am looking for events to vendor at but you can place an order thru my email, email@example.com or on my site www.herhandsarecrafty.com or find me on Facebook www.facebook.com/herhandsarecrafty and I do accept PayPal, debit/credit, cash and take payments through Square as well.
What is the last book you read or what are you currently reading?
The last book I read was Things Hoped For by Andrew Clements and it’s a sequel to Things Not Seen. I have read this book numerous times. I usually like to read (crime) mysteries.
What advice would you give other young girls who are thinking about turning their talents into a business?
I would tell them to just do it if they really feel the need to in their heart. When you start a business it’s going to be rocky, no doubt about it but you have fight for it and persevere. If you really want this you can’t give up. It even still gets hard for me, sometimes I’m too tired to work or I’m just tired of spending all this money on duct tape but you have to look at the light at the end of the tunnel. Look back on why you are doing this the reason and purpose you started this in the first place. To make a difference. You really have to put your heart and soul into it or you are just wasting your time, you can’t just be in it for the money because what you put in is what you get out, anywhere. What do you have to lose? And if you don’t like it you can stop or take a break if needed and always start up again. Just make it your own, be the best you can be, and stay true to yourself.
A quote by Oscar Wilde states “be you because everyone else is already taken”. I always try to live, breath, and sleep by this motto. You can always be yourself, it just comes naturally but you can’t be someone else because you can lose the real genuine you in the process, plus they will beat you at your own game so just save the trouble. Plus an original is always better than a copy.
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