Updated: May 28, 2019
In 2010, Simply Lulabells was born from a doll Cindy Kirksey made for her granddaughter. She explains “I had left my job and was looking for something to fill my time, so I found myself back at the sewing machine. I had been sewing off and on since my teenage years, when I made my own bell bottoms and wedding dress." With her granddaughter by her side she made version after version of that first doll trying to perfect the design. Her final doll embraced Cindy's eclectic and quirky personality. It was fashioned from an assemblage of fabrics she had collected over the years.
She quickly learned that not only did her granddaughter love the creations, but others did too. Every customer felt like a new friend and her products the connection. To this day, her biggest motivator is those who enjoy her creations. “I love knowing that what I do gets to be a small part of their lives. My birds are hanging in children's bedrooms or over kitchen sinks. My bags are being used by teachers and teenagers alike. The dolls still have the power to make a kid smile.”
As a Muskegon native, Cindy's memories are ingrained with images of the lakes and beautiful scenery of this area. “I started looking for ways that I could share these memories with my customers. Pieces of my home can be found throughout my work, from a vintage fabric, to hand drawn illustrations of flowers, to the driftwood that has been such a large part of my products. I love knowing that all the driftwood I put on my birds have a history and a story of their own.”
Cindy is inspired by the natural materials and objects that surround us in our daily life and seeks to repurpose and use surprising materials to create quality items that can find a loving place in a new life. One of her greatest achievements is being commissioned to create 85 ornaments for Mona Shores middle school principal Greg Helmer, who was chosen as Michigan's 2013 principal of the year. Her ornaments were given to the other recognized principles and were hung in the White House. Cindy is excited to share her creations with you online at Facebook.com/simplylulabells and in person at the ACWL- Nuveen Center, Muskegon Museum of Art’s Gift Shop, and many local craft fairs.