People

Colourful dreams

Colourful dreams

Over the course of two years 30-year-old Dave Schmidt of Salt Rock, who was born with Down Syndrome, built up a stockpile of bits of colourful paper that stood taller than him. Then his family decided it was time to help him open a shop and take his beautiful confetti online.

The business, called Dave’s Shop, became an almost overnight sensation after it officially launched online on 25 August. Dave has sold over 520 handfuls of confetti in his first week of business.

Dave’s sister-in-law Derryn Schmidt and her friend own a company called Hooray Weddings which sells various bridal items, one being confetti poppers. She suggested that Dave make the confetti rather than ordering it from China.

“Because I am a wedding photographer, Dave hears a lot of stories and sees a lot of wedding photos. He has come to love weddings and everything they represent. Creating the confetti for our store was an opportunity he jumped at and threw himself into whole-heartedly,” says Derryn.

Dave spent two years cutting up tissue paper, building his massive stockpile of confetti. When the pile of boxes stood higher than he did, the family decided it was time to expand their target market beyond the wedding industry and create a company for him.

“We all chip in to help him. His mom and dad have an office for him at home and they keep an eye on his stock. They are, in effect, production managers. His sister, Robyn, is his financial manager and helps keep track of online orders. His brother, Mark, is his trusted advisor and financial backer and I (his sister-in-law) am basically his PA and social media manager.”

When asked why he loves to make his confetti Dave says, “It’s nice, it’s my work, it’s my job and people like it. My favourite colours are silver, white and blue.”

Getting into the groove of mass producing the confetti entailed a bit of trial and error for Dave, who started using scrap booking punches in different shapes and sizes, which ended up wearing out too quickly. Now he cuts the tissue paper into strips by hand and then cuts the strips into tiny squares. It’s something he can do while he’s watching wrestling or soap operas on television . . . and he can go on for hours.

“I think having a job is what he loves the most. He wants to be just like his brother and sister, and having a job gives him a sense of purpose. He eats, sleeps and breaths confetti and we love seeing him with this incredible motivation and drive.”

Dave’s confetti is perfect for anyone looking to add some colour and joy to their celebration. For now, Dave is just selling loose confetti, by the handful. But, his family are in the process of helping Dave to create products for gender reveals, birthday parties and weddings.

When asked what are his hopes are for the future Dave says he wants to take photos like his sister-in-law Derryn.

“He wants to be just like his siblings, but really, all we (his family) want, is to see him happy. Having a job, and something that is his own, gives him a sense of accomplishment and we couldn’t ask for anything more. I would absolutely love to see his business grow to a point where we can employ other adults born with Down syndrome. To be able to offer this same sense of purpose to others would be amazing,” says Derryn.

Dave’s confetti is accessible via his Facebook or Instagram pages or on his website.

Details: @davesshop on Instagram, www.davesshop.net, hello@davesshop.net

Text: Monique De Villiers-Delport | Photographs: Derryn Schmidt Photography

 

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