Eleven-year-old entrepreneur finds market for her craft skills
Kayla Calveley is a busy 11-year-old. She has gymnastics four times a week, homework, exams and extras like the school play.
In the midst of it all she runs her own business Kayla’s Kreations, selling everything from handmade resin key chains and bookmarks to bead bowls, lip scrubs, refurbished furniture and art work.
“My friends are sometimes surprised when they find out I have my own business,” Kayla laughed. “They say how do you do that? They say how do you have time?”
The Bermuda High School student said it is just a matter of careful scheduling.
“Wednesdays are usually my best day,” she said.
Kayla has always been artistic. She thinks she got that from her English grandfather, Terry Calveley.
“He was an artist and first taught Kayla to draw and paint,” Tim Calveley, Kayla’s father, said. “He passed away two years ago, but would be extremely proud of his granddaughter.”
The idea for the business was born during lockdown earlier this year. Kayla was bored, so her mother, Kelly Ingham, gave her an old table to makeover.
“I had never done any kind of furniture before,” Kayla said.
Before Kayla could start painting the table, she had to sand it down, a process that took 2½ hours of strenuous effort. When that was done, she painted yellow sunflowers on a blue background.
“It was a harder surface to work on and it took a long time,” she said. “And it was uneven even after we sanded it. There were moments when I had a few doubts about what I was doing but I wanted to see what it would look like when it was done.”
Her mother urged her to continue.
When Ms Ingham posted the results on social media, Kayla’s aunt was so impressed she asked Kayla to redo a table she had.
“She wanted me to paint a mandala,” Kayla said. “That was a complicated design. It took me about three weeks. It was really hard to create.”
She got her first order in July and has had 12 customers. Earlier this month her parents helped her set up a website for her business to widen her reach.
"We created a website with Shopify,“ Kayla said. ”We chose that because it is not really complicated to use, and there are lots of good templates. I helped with the designing and my dad did all the programming because I am not very good at that.“
There was a learning curve for both of them.
“At first, we didn’t know how to get the products on it,” Kayla said. Also, sometimes she forgot the password to it.
Her favourite products to make are resin pours into which she inserts letters, flowers, glitter, sand or other decorative items. Her resin pour key chains are her best sellers.
“Kids like to put them on their backpacks,” Kayla said. “But most of my customers are grown-ups.”
Kayla said her items containing Bermuda beach sand are great for people who want to take home a little piece of Bermuda.
But the resin pours can be a sticky job, and hard to wash off your hands. Kayla has to use a Popsicle stick or gloves to adjust her resin pours before they are done.
“You have make the measurements exact,” she said. “I did a batch of resin and it didn’t dry because I didn’t do the exact.”
The thing she likes least about running an art business is the clean-up.
“The glitter gets everywhere,” she said.
And like most businesses, hers has not escaped the impact of Covid-19. She was supposed to sell her products at the BHS Christmas fair this year, but it was cancelled.
She is also trying to help the community through her business. In the lead-up to Christmas Kayla will be donating half of her proceeds to the Eliza DoLittle Society, a local charity that helps to feed the needy.
So far she has raised $200 and hopes to raise $500.
“When people are less fortunate, Eliza DoLittle can give food to them,” Kayla said. “I thought it was important because at Christmas everyone deserves food, especially on Christmas Day. I am really excited about helping them.”
In school, one of her favourite classes is art. And she has some definite ideas about what she wants to be when she grows up.
“I want to be my own boss,” she said. “I don’t want to work for anyone else.”
For more information see Kayla’s Kreations on Facebook, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 705-3939 or see www.kaylaskreations.shop/