- Associated Press - Sunday, April 27, 2014

STARR, S.C. (AP) - Donna Williams and Jenna Quigley giggled as they worked on putting glue on the backs of small squares of card stock and Jenna shared with the group her best friend’s nickname.

“She is the ‘Stamping Queen,’” Jenna said, rousing laughter from Donna and both their mothers.

“It’s funny, because it’s true,” said Donna’s mother, Rita Williams.

Donna and Jenna sat at a table at Donna’s home in Starr and worked on stamping a week ago. The two women, who are in their early 20s, came together to make their latest batch of greeting cards for their business, Just for You Card Art.

Donna and Jenna went to school together in the metro Atlanta area. They met at Tucker High School where they were both in the special-needs classes. Both have Down syndrome. Donna was outgoing and bubbly while Jenna was quiet and shy. They were alike, yet opposite enough that they made a wonderful duo.

For eight years, they went bowling together, played games, went to summer camps, and watched their favorite television shows together. Often, they would spend time together after school.

“They really were together seven days a week,” said Denise Quigley, Jenna’s mother.

Before long, their mothers, Rita and Denise, were also friends. They discovered that they, like their daughters, had a lot in common. They realized quickly that they lived just a couple of streets away from one another.

Jenna still lives in the Atlanta area and Donna lives in Starr with her family. In 2010, the Williams family moved to Anderson County, just as Donna was finishing up her high school education.

Just as the Williams family made the move, Donna and Jenna made a move of their own.

They began making greeting cards.

It started out as an idea that Denise had for Rita, who has made greeting cards as a hobby for about 15 years. Denise told Rita that she ought to make the cards as a business. Rita, however, would shrug off the idea. She likes making cards, but it is a pastime for her.

By career, she is a registered nurse.

So for her, the idea of opening up a greeting card business was not something that gained any real traction.

But for her daughter and her best friend, it was the perfect opportunity.

“We said, ‘We can do it!’” Donna said.

So even though they live in separate cities, they get together every so often to work on the cards together. In some cases, they send some of their creations back and forth in the mail so they can add their own special touches to them.

In 2010, they went to their first conference, the National Down Syndrome Conference, and there they sold their cards.

Donna and Jenna took turns showing attendees their “sample book” of cards. And before the event was done, the marketing-artistic duo had made 400 cards.

Since then, they have made invitations for two weddings, and they have been to shows in Florida, Atlanta, Anderson and Athens, Ga. Soon, they will head to one at St. Simons Island, Ga.

And they have launched an online site where they sell their cards.

Donna and Jenna put together all the cards. They stamp, glue, cut out shapes and put buttons and other decorations on them.

On this particular Monday, they worked on a set of 20 cards, with sea horses stamped on them, for a customer who happens to work at the Georgia Aquarium.

“Everybody has abilities to do something, to have a purpose. They just have to find what that is,” Rita said. “The girls have yet to make a profit with their business. But that is not the point. This is about giving them a purpose.”

For Donna and Jenna, this business is just about having fun and being together with friends.

“We love it,” Jenna said, reaching for Donna’s hand, across their work table. “We’re best friends. We do everything together. We’ve been through everything together.”


Online: http://www.justforyoucardart.com/


Information from: Anderson Independent-Mail, http://www.andersonsc.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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