Calhoun artist Grace Key lives out her 'Be the Light' message
Be the light.
That's the message a local entrepreneur is sharing with her work.
In this week's Made In Our Hometown we go to Calhoun, GA for a look at the young woman behind the "Be the Light" brand.
Grace Key finishes painting a colorful rainbow with delicate strokes of yellow.
It's the same color as the light bulbs on her shirt.
Grace is the 20-year-old creator of Be the Light shirts. Since the first one was printed, the budding businesswoman has sold more than 600 in less than a year.
"Be famous," Grace says.
Famous is exactly what Grace is in her hometown. She's famous for bringing light and joy, mixed with a lot of sass, everywhere she goes.
"Go with the flow."
Grace has been coming up with special sayings since she was a kid. She uses those sayings in her art.
Grace named her business Candidly Kind.
"That describes Grace perfectly," Grace's mom Carrie Key said. "She's very candid, she's very kind."
Carrie loves watching her daughter come up with new ideas for Candidly Kind.
Grace brings the ideas to life while working in her basement studio.
"It's so much fun to watch her just really intently be working on a design," Carrie said.
Grace started her senior year of high school last fall. Like a typical mom, Carrie worried about what was next for her daughter.
"The work force is slim. You think about those things."
Obstacles yes, impossible no. They found a way to turn Grace's passion for painting into a thriving business.
"Grace came up with an idea for what she wanted to do on the t shirt," Carrie said. "She took it to her high school art teacher and she helped her with the design and that's kind of how it started."
Once the shirts are printed, they each get a Candidly Kind tag.
Grace is learning about finances, while also giving back.
They sent Ruby's Rainbow a $1,000 check.
"We are donating for kids who have Down syndrome to go to college," Grace said.
School is something very important to Grace. Growing up, she's been involved in many school activities from swimming to cheerleading.
"She is my angel, she keeps life interesting," Carrie said.
Grace also loves modeling for the Rusty Zipper.
"She changed our whole family's life when she was born and it's been a wonderful 20 years," Carrie said.
The adult sizes have been so popular, they are considering offering children sizes as well. You can buy the shirts in person at various RAK Outfitters.