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SISTER, SISTER Kennedy Barton, an eighth grader at St. Michael Catholic School, became close with older sister Gentry after they started a jewelry business.
During the spring of my sixth-grade year, my sister Gentry and I came up with an idea to make jewelry fashionable and affordable. When I first got the idea I tried to make jewelry on my own at my grandmother’s house, but I needed a helping hand. Then I talked to Gentry, and she thought it was a really smart idea. We had no idea what to call it or how to how to sell, but we tried to make things work.
Gentry came up with the name “Keeks” because she calls me that instead of Kennedy. After we got the name we made an Instagram account (@keeksbydesign), where we post and sell our pieces. She would wear pieces and help spread the word. When we got more orders we started going to different stores and beading.
I would describe Keeks as colorful and stylish. We use beads and source from all over the country. We sell mostly to teenage and college girls, but we think Keeks is perfect for every single age. Our motto is “Make a statement!” Every single piece is handmade, and we take custom and personalized orders.
Keeks By Design was a hobby that turned into a passion. We have shipped to Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. This year we are going to donate 10 percent of every order to Give Kids The World Village, a nonprofit resort in Florida for children with life-threatening illnesses.
My sister was 17 when we started this business, and I was 11. Before Keeks we were not connected at all. Either she was off studying, or I was talking with friends. Now my sister is now a freshman at Ole Miss, and I feel like I can call her any time. I owe that all to Keeks By Design! I try to make all of the design choices here, but she is a total fashionista so I call her to get her advice. We always joke around that it is a “bond shared between sisters,” and it is completely true.
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