It has been an “exciting journey” for Kimberley Cossey.
The wife and mother of two is the owner of KalDayo Designs, which specialises in bag making. What makes the journey so amazing is that the business has accomplished much in just a year.
She told Today’s Fashion: “We’ve had our ups and downs. KalDayo Designs has been established for one year and we’ve been able to have our pieces among so many wonderful, local small businesses and entrepreneurs in My Collection Barbados and captured in the Ins and Outs of Barbados 2020 magazine.”
She continued: “We have some of our pieces in Runway Duty-Free Barbados at the airport where, as small as we are, we travel the world. Also, we’re members of the Emerging Brands of Barbados Co-op, which has many local small businesses and entrepreneurs under one body. I just want to say thanks to all who gave KalDayo Designs the opportunity to make Barbados proud.”
Along with those achievements, KalDayo Designs has taken part in business expos, Festive Friday, The Balls Plantation Garden and Flower Show, Girlfriends Expo under BIDC [Barbados Investment Development Corporation] and a variety of marketplaces to name a few.
The 46-year-old, who is a registered pharmacist by profession, said she always wanted to do something outside of pharmacy as her “bones have creative marrow”.
“It was the end of 2016, I was 42 and I always reflect on the year and anticipate the newness of the year ahead. I have made a few clothing pieces for family and work colleagues. One day, I wanted to try something different, stretch myself a bit. I started putting a few pieces together, and my first bag was made. Everything I do is self-taught with the talent God has given me.
“I think bag making more chose me. A pharmacist colleague once asked if you had to do it all over again, what would you do; I said fashion and ministry. I love pharmacy. Being able to communicate and assist patients in various ways really brought me out of my shell. However, I always wanted to do something outside of pharmacy as my bones have creative marrow. I saw bag making as a way of expressing myself in a different way and doing something exciting. I envisioned having my pieces grace international stores. A big dream, but the sky is the limit,” the bag designer said.
KalDayo’s bags can be found at My Collection Barbados on the South and West Coast and in Runway Duty-Free at the airport.
Kimberley was swift to point out that while there has been much success, there were also a few challenges as well.
“My major challenge was stepping out into a field I had absolutely no knowledge about and learning from scratch while leaving a lucrative career behind or putting it on pause to pursue a vision. I was working extremely hard, long nights and days, praying that one day my family would understand the craziness of it all and they have.
“Another challenge is obtaining the hardware needed to give that final piece the extra touch and look we really want, but we are getting there. I have absolutely no regrets. Perseverance seldom fails, that’s a poem I said at my graduation from primary school that has been more impactful to me in this season of my life.”
The entrepreneur who holds an Associate Degree in Pharmacy and has a certificate as a Holistic Counsellor, has worked at a few small to medium community pharmacies as well as the larger pharmacies across the island. She has also worked with a large international pharmacy which catered to the global market.
KalDayo’s clientele ranges from ages 25 to 54 and is predominantly women. They have also done a few specialty pieces for men and will be expanding in the future. The business has serviced customers locally, regionally, and internationally.
“We strive for that overall experience for our clients. Making the client feel unique, as our pieces are unique, is of utmost importance. When they walk away with one of our pieces, we want them to experience Dayo. What is Dayo? Dayo means ‘Joy Comes’. Our slogan is ‘Dayo when one of our pieces becomes one of yours.’”
The former student of St Paul’s Primary, Sharon Primary, Alleyne School and the Barbados Community College, wants to ensure a quality product as she seeks to accomplish the vision of the business.
“KalDayo Designs has a global vision. We want to have a brand that goes through our generations. We want to have a brand that is world known, one that Barbados can be proud of, knowing it is homegrown in every way. We also seek to add well-needed career opportunities for our people as well as foreign revenue for our country.”
Kimberley believes the key to success is hard work. Her advice to young creatives is simple. Her words of wisdom do not only apply to business but how to become a better person.
“You must love it. Let your pieces show who you are and let them convey the message of your creativity. It’s hard work. The competition is real, but stay the course. Learn from those around you and work hard. But most of all, love what you do with a clear vision of why you are doing it.”
She continued: “Live to your true potential and do not short change yourself. Use every challenge, trial, obstacle, and accomplishment as an opportunity to learn and pass it to those who are willing to listen. Make a positive impact in your family, neighbourhood, community, nation, and the world at large. Make a difference because you can because of ‘I am’.”
After a hectic day, the business owner turns to some music, reading and animals as her source to recharge and re-engage.
“I love music, mainly gospel, as it’s more uplifting and speaks to the inner depths of who you really are. I play the saxophone, started at Alleyne School, took part in NIFCA, the then Barbados Youth Orchestra and the calypso tents Pioneer and Conquerors.
“Recently, after a long drought, I picked the saxophone back up as it allows for balance of work life. It not only relaxes me, but it brings back those pleasant moments of yesteryear. I love animals and wanted to be a veterinarian, so we have dogs and I spend time relaxing with them.”
And while Kimberley is passionate about both her careers, she is equally excited and committed to her family life.
“Family is important, and during this time you realize it even more. My husband Ronald, daughter Leah, son Michael-Andre, stepdaughter Rashida, and mum Ann – a great inspiration, and aunts Betty and Beverley and my wonderful mother- and father-in-law Lanthie and Rawle and can’t forget my brother-in-law Roger who is the designer of our awesome logo. We need each other despite our differences.” (IMC)