The residents at GGC are often overlooked, as is their way of life, but one student has found a way to thrive while getting her education. Danielle Chapman is a 22-year-old Human Development/ Aging Service major and Residential Assistant with big aspirations.
“Divine Creations, established in 2017, is a handmade jewelry company built on bringing confidence, positive body imaging, and beauty to women of every size,” reads the Divine Creations mission statement.
“Divine Creations started as a failed [housing] program,” said Chapman, CEO, and founder of Divine Creations. The program Chapman created was organized for residents to mingle and create custom bracelets, yet no one showed.
Chapman said that once the event was over there were residents who came asking when the event was taking place, before realizing that the event was over and that they’d missed getting to make a bracelet. This is what started the idea that this could be more than a program; this could become a business.
“People started saying, ‘I don’t care how much it cost, I just want one’,” Chapman said.
This failed program turned into something much more.
Divine Creations has said in their mission statement that they will be donating portions of their profits to local causes around Atlanta from the profits of their monthly bracelet fundraisers.
The business started as a team of three: Danielle Chapman, Cayla Mckelton, and Demetrius Williams. Each of them had their own influence in the naming and start of the company.
“Demetrius was actually the one who came up with the divine part of our business name,” Chapman said.
“The purpose that she [Danielle] wants is for everyone to feel confident and to love themselves… I assumed it was best to name it divine because everyone is divine within themselves and everyone has a divine purpose.”
Demetrius Williams, the company’s former financial advisor, said. “Divine could stand for so many things for so many people: beauty, creation, or confidence.”
Each collection within the business, such as the Divine Curves Collection, has its own meaning as well.
“Many girls were saying ‘not my curves, not my curves’ but your curves are the reason you wear waist beads,” Chapman said.
In West Africa, the beads are to celebrate womanhood and the many different aspects such as sexuality, fertility, body shaping, and wealth/societal status. Many are unaware of the history and purpose of waist beads.
“In African tradition, you get your first waist bead when you start your period and the last waist bead you get is the one your husband gives you,” Chapman said.
“On your wedding day, the mother of both bride and groom, the bride, and the groom all wear their waist beads of their tribe.” Peter Adeojo a Nigerian native said.
The color of the beads you wear is dependant on the tribe that you are apart of. The beads are supposed to promote confidence along with self-awareness, Adeojo added.
This self-awareness and confidence is not only geared towards women but towards men as well. The Drip Collection that they offer allows for men to feel the same confidence as women feel.
“Drip is a movement… When a male wears his different bracelets and his chains it defines him. When you wear it you feel that swagger, that confidence.” Demetrius said.
Working with Divine Creations, Kennedy Patterson, founder of K.L.P. Entertainment said the ease of working with Danielle Chapman.
“The experience was easy and done in a timely manner.” Patterson said. ” this allows for me to express my media label’s colors.”
This journey has not been easy for them.
“Being that you are primarily selling to African-Americans they want the ” hey girl discount” or being told ‘I like your product but I wouldn’t buy it from you at that price.'” Chapman said.
Outside of the “hey girl discount” there have been other roadblocks. “People don’t take us seriously. People don’t believe that it’s a business because we are on campus and we aren’t automatically global.” Chapman said.
Not many understand the lengthiness of the process “For 10 to 15 waist beads it can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.” said Mckelton.
Even with the difficulties they’ve faced, these two students have said that the experience has been one of learning and growth.
“Being an entrepreneur has empowered me. Not many people have pride in black-owned products… It gave me more confidence in being apart of a black-owned business now.” Mckelton said.
For Chapman, the experience has been one tied to family, as her mother, grandmother, and father are all business owners.
“My mama always told me, it’s only one thing you come in this world with and one thing you leave with and that is your name.”
Chapman said that the company has been a leap of faith for her as well. “I am consistently walking forward without seeing the path.”
There have been certain obstacles, such as partners stepping down and having to share the common space in the dorms that the Divine Creations team have had to deal with.
“With Demetrius no longer working for the company I am now solely responsible for the financial aspects of Divine Creations,” Chapman said. “It has caused stress and a heavy workload, of course, splitting the work from 3 to 2; but we have been able to adjust and make it work through time and dedication.”
Another obstacle that Divine Creations has run into has been sharing space with others within the dorms. “Sometimes it’s hard to work like you need to because you have to respect others and the space you share,” Chapman said.
But her roommates have voiced that this is not a concern.
“I don’t bother me. She is handling her business.” Kiara Howard, one of Chapman’s roommates said.
With the acceptance of her roommates and the strength of her team, Chapman has been able to build her business and strive. “When you see my beads I want it you see sleek, expensive, black pride. I want you to see It’s worth it.”
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