In the height of the real estate boom, Kim Wallen, Cindy Williams and Lindsey Demers formed a fast friendship at one of the Keys’ premier design and real estate firms.
Kim was pregnant with her third child, and though her income was solid, her position had changed and limited her creative expression. Lindsey, wife and mother of two, tragically lost her father and moved back to her native Massachusetts to be with her mother and family. Cindy, who’d been working at a sewing machine since the age of five, decided it was time for a change and took a leap of faith to strike out on her own.
Though they all went in their separate directions, the trio has recently reunited in full force to bring their custom-made jewelry, clothing and handbags and totes to residents and visitors of the Florida Keys.
Unable to bear the cold, Lindsey returned to Marathon with her husband, Steve and their two sons, Jack and Ben, in March. Kim gathered her girls and told them to set their sights on Fantasy Fest. For six months, she collected her husband’s catch from his recreational fishing trips and began making traditional fish prints with acrylics on rice paper.
“I’m all about color, so I decided to research fabric paints and started doing the prints on canvas,” Kim explained.
Her friend Cindy was amazed.
“All of a sudden, she wanted a sewing machine and started buying all this equipment,” Cindy remarked. “She’s so artistic and creative and enthusiastic about her work.”
Kdub Designz now features fish print shirts and bags. Her passion for color and knack for the creative and unique also moved her to create feathered head bands perfect for taming and accessorizing uncontrollable locks on humid days.
Lindsey’s craft began to evolve when a friend taught her the art of jewelry making. After a career in merchandising, flooring and high-end lighting products, she began creating unique bracelets, necklaces and earring sets representative of her tropical surroundings.
Pointing to her bracelet, she explained that a lot of her pieces include turquoise and bright red coral accents representative of the beautiful waters and fire coral that lies beneath it.
“I’m going to start incorporating in some sterling silver fish, too,” she exclaimed.
As the ladies gathered on Lindsey’s back porch on a muggy December morning, The Weekly Newspapers noticed some particularly unique accent pillows on her outdoor furniture. Just as Cindy accessorizes with Lindsey’s jewelry, Lindsey showcases Cindy’s work to all her houseguests.
“It’s great having creative friends,” Lindsey laughed.
Cindy’s Custom Linens has been nearly a lifetime in the making. Prior to her studies at Colorado State University in Apparel Design and Merchandising, Cindy said she began making money sewing clothes when she was 12 years old. After a stint in New York City with J. Crew, Cindy made her way to the Florida Keys and was enlisted by D’Asign Source to sew all the company’s custom linens.
After she struck out on her own, Cindy went to work for various upholsterers to grow her skill set even further. Less than two years ago, she launched Cindy’s Custom Linens. While simultaneously running a business that manufactures custom bedding, linens and upholstery, Cindy also sells a nationally based natural skincare line. As she was preparing for one of her in-home shows, she decided to create some spa bags with her leftover furniture fabric. Much like her two friends, those who saw the bags ranted and raved and told her, “Hey, I want that!” Thus, her line of totes and shoulder bags was born.
Taking hints from their surroundings and feeding off each other’s creative energy, the ladies of Kdub Designz, Fun Bagz and Designz by Lindsey will be touring the local craft fair circuit for the next year.
“I wanted to be able to stay at home with my kids and still bring some sort of income into the household,” Kim explained. “We’re all in this together, and we really motivate each other to continually learn and grow.”