Keaunna Figgers, Denver’s newest fashionista, is raising awareness of Down syndrome and doing so in style through her company The C-21 Project, which refers to the extra 21st chromosome that she was born with.
Born with Down syndrome, Figgers faced obstacles from the start – she had open-heart surgery at just 3 months old and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at a very young age. Growing up with arthritis, Figgers would spend hours coloring in coloring books and doodling. Books of her detailed artwork would stack up. Her father, Phildale Billingsley, encouraged her to turn that creativity into a business.
Figgers launched her business at just 25 years old. She decided she wanted to use her creativity to teach others about Down syndrome and bring awareness.
“I love kids with disabilities. That’s why I want to make my clothing line, to teach kids how much I love them,” she told CBS4.
Figgers says that the best part about owning her own business is getting to work with her parents and the owner of the t-shirt printing company Out of the Blue, Blue Grimes.
The Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has been an intricate part of Figgers getting her business off the ground. She has received help with taxes, inventory, software, trademark, marketing, website assistance and much more.
“We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful resource in our city,” Figgers mom, Jennifer Billingsley, said.
Since working with the Denver Metro SBDC, Figgers has received help from the Denver Vocational Rehabilitation to start her own small business, and is also working with Out of The Blue, another Denver Metro SBDC client, a custom printing shop in Denver to help her merchandise the items she has for sale.
For more information and to see Keaunna’s merchandise for yourself, visit c-21project.com.