If you visit the small historic town of Beaufort, South Carolina, you may spot a charming, white-painted school bus parked outside a vintage market or festival. Beyond its front entrance with a refurbished farmhouse door, you’ll find a small shop on wheels, with jewelry on display that’s “heart- and hand-crafted” by circa1910 owner Kayla Derrick.
Kayla didn’t always sell her jewelry from the bus, but she felt the need to take her business on the road after not being able to afford a shop. “I also wanted to connect with my customers face to face,” says Kayla. That’s when she and her fiancé found an old school bus for sale. It was “a piece of junk with gum stuck to the floorboards” that broke down right after she bought it, but Kayla had a vision.
“We had to do it all on a budget,” Kayla says, so they poured their money and heart into the project. “All materials were vintage, antique, repurposed or found in trash piles. That’s what I do with my jewelry—I take dirty and broken vintage and antique pieces, like shoe clips, clean them up and combine them with gemstones to make new necklaces and earrings.”
Her business name refers to the year her grandmother was born. The month she got the bus her mother was diagnosed with cancer. “I saw her go through multiple surgeries. After seeing her crying in the mirror because she didn’t feel pretty, I knew I wanted to create jewelry that spoke to women … and jewelry is something that fits everyone. The idea is that you are beautiful the way you are.”
Kayla added wood-looking vinyl flooring, crown molding and 1870s porch posts with original chippy paint to give the bus character. A wall drying rack serves as a display shelf. She repurposed a vintage vanity and added crystal knobs. Her fiancé built a wood countertop, which she accented with tacks to look like tacked metal and acrylic paint to look like galvanized metal.
When Hurricane Matthew wrecked their town, they had to leave everything behind, including the bus. “When we got back, we don’t know how, but our yard had flooded but not our bus. I wanted to incorporate a memento, so I mounted some driftwood inside the bus as a reminder to always be thankful.”