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Writing their own story

The owners of Blackberry and Co. From left to right: (front row) Aleesha Roberts and Kalyn Jones; (back row, from left to right): Destinie Chambers and Alexcia Jones.

Writing their own story
February 17
13:42 2021

COVID has caused many businesses to close. The stress of losing customers and revenue has weighed heavy on the minds of many entrepreneurs. 

But for four local nurses, COVID had the opposite effect.  Destinie Chambers, Alexcia Jones, Kalyn Jones and Aleesha Roberts turned the stress of being frontline workers into a hand-lettering business, Blackberry and Co.

The new business owners are labor and delivery nurses at Novant Health – Forsyth Medical Center. They took to hand lettering as a form of decompressing from an already stressful job that was even more exacerbated by the pandemic. Soon the group began to transpose their hand-styled writings onto objects like travel mugs, T-shirts, and home décor items.  

“Initially, we picked up hand lettering as a stress relief from COVID.  It was a fun, new hobby that we could all enjoy and share. As time progressed and we perfected our skill, others started to notice. We started to slowly acknowledge that we could monetize our hobby and boom, Blackberry and Co was born,” said Roberts in an interview with The Chronicle.  

This is the first business venture for all four women. When asked about being a first-time entrepreneur, Chambers said, “I am a first-time business owner, which is very exciting. I always have been creative and innovative but never found the drive to turn my hobbies and interests into an actual business and not just something I do for fun. Recently, we all turned our new-found interest of hand lettering into a business. This journey has been exciting because as first-time business owners, we have learned so much and continue to grow daily through each other and through experiences. We look forward to seeing Blackberry and Co. grow.”

While nursing and hand lettering seem to be worlds apart, the owners of Blackberry and Co. find similarities in the skills it takes to be a great nurse and to craft beautiful products.

“In both nursing and hand lettering, there’s an immense amount of detail, from learning the pressure of pen strokes to learning what angle helps to trace a baby’s heart the best. As with anything else, the more you practice, the better you get,” said Roberts.

The home décor and hand-lettering business doesn’t have many faces that look like the owners of the Blackberry and Co.

“Yes, we definitely think the hand-lettering business doesn’t have a lot of faces that look like ours, which is fine. We are happy to change that. Our motto is ‘If it is written, it can be done.’ It is influenced by our religion and faith and we also try to infuse that in all aspects of our business. Overall, our goal is to help reflect our culture and experience as Black women to our designs, one product at a time,” Alexcia Jones said proudly.  

Despite the challenges of COVID, business for Blackberry and Co. has been good and steady.

“We have been well received by our peers and customers. We are very grateful to be surrounded by individuals who know our potential and know that we can deliver great products and service. We look forward to continuing to deliver amazing products to new and returning customers and to expanding our customer base,” said Chambers.

Looking toward the future, Blackberry and Co. hopes to grow their presence in the community.

“In the next few years, we hope to expand and open up a store or office space. We want the public to know that Blackberry is here to serve. We love to make our clients’ visions come to life,” Kalyn Jones said.

To connect with Blackberry and Co. or to see their handcrafted products, visit them on Instagram @blackberryandco_ or their Facebook page, Blackberry and Co.  

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Bridget Elam

Bridget Elam

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