By Maddy Vitale
Kendell Davis and Ebony Jones have a lot in common. They grew up in the same Ocean City neighborhood, went to school together, and both pursued a career in fashion.
They are also longtime friends.
So, it only made sense that the two join forces to design, sew and sell their custom creations.
They launched K.e.y Creations in January. All the merchandise is available through Instagram and by phone. Pants, dresses, coverups, pillows, sustainable bags and keychains reflect the distinct style and talents of the young entrepreneurs.
“We have been friends since we were 12. We grew up together. I had just moved back from Atlanta last spring. We both worked together as visual merchandisers,” Davis, 26, explained. “Ebony shared with me that she wanted to start her own line. She was selling her coverups by herself and I said, ‘We should do this together. I can show you what I know.’”
But the Ocean City High School graduates needed time in their hectic schedules to design and create their merchandise, especially since they both have other jobs, Davis at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services on Battersea Road and Jones, at the ARC of Atlantic County.
The duo needed stock for their tables at various venues.
For months they met a few days a week at Davis’ home, where she sketched out the whole collection, mainly made of cotton and other soft fabrics.
“I sketch it first with pencil. Then I think of what type of colors would go with the different fabrics,” Davis said.
Then Davis and Jones would head off to Philadelphia to buy the fabrics.
“We make our own patterns out of paper shopping bags,” Davis explained. “It takes one yard of fabric to make a bag. If we want to make 20 bags it takes 20 yards of fabric, so we have to buy a lot of fabric.”
And for the merchandise to be special, a lot of thought must go into it and it does, Jones said.
“We really balance out one another. I like working with Kendell because she thinks just like me,” Jones, 27, said. “It isn’t just about getting money, it is about giving back and doing stuff from the heart.”
They will meet one more time to ensure they have ample merchandise to take them through their summer orders.
They just had a table at the Juneteenth celebration in Ocean City. They have also done a few farmers markets and other venues.
“We are always searching for more farmers markets to sell our bags and coverups,” Jones said.
In addition to their clothing and bags, their key chains, while the smallest of their products, really signifies what K.e.y Creations is all about, they said.
“The key chains are the most detailed,” Davis said. “We have various designs with African American women on them. There is the pregnant mom, the dancer and the worker. It is about what keeps us connected.”
Jones, who has an 8-year-old daughter Ka’leiyah, and is expecting, hopes to own her own boutique one day.
She wants her daughter to see that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
“I want her to see that she could have her own business. She could be her own boss,” Jones said. “I have always felt like I am a good leader because I don’t look down on people.”
Davis has worked in the industry on multiple levels, from modeling, to tailoring and now designing.
Her dream is to be a designer.
While the two women ultimately have separate career paths in the fashion industry they wish to pursue, together they make the perfect team, they said.
Davis handles the design side of K.e.y Creations, while Jones oversees the business end.
Their mission is the same, providing finely made, quality items at an affordable price. Their coverups, for example, cost about $30 and their bags are $20.
“We were put together for a reason,” Davis said. “We are creators. We are not just doing things just to do them, we think about what we make and how we make it every step of the way.”
For custom orders or alterations call Kendell Davis at 609-453-1895 and Ebony Jones at 267-982-1144 or check out their Instagram page at k.e.y_creations.