Selma Wood Company carves out a niche
By ADAM DODSON | Times-Journal
Nesbert Vaval hopes his new woodworking business will furnish people’s homes while supplying jobs to those in need.
Vaval is the brains and backbone behind the Selma Wood Company, an initiative of the Dallas County Children’s Policy Council. The idea is to train people in woodworking and then give them an opportunity to sell their creations.
However, the business is only in its infancy. Vaval, along with his partner in the endeavor Desmond Looney, have only been leasing their shop on Church Street since August and are learning on the job.
“I basically come in here and figure it out,” Vaval said. “I never imagined that I would have a passion for woodworking. I’m not a woodworker, but yet God keeps finding me connections to keep going.”
Vaval is originally from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia but moved to the United States to play tennis for a small Christian college in Kentucky.
He first came to Selma for an internship in the summer of 2015, working part of the time with G Momma’s Cookies and with the Compass program, which helps at-risk youth. He and his wife Kelli returned to Selma the following summer and worked with the Children’s Policy Council and Blue Jean Church.
Through this time, Vaval has formed great bonds with his fellow interns, one who helped him find the lease for the building Selma Wood Company operates out of now.
The woodworking shop was originally supposed to be a T-shirt company, but Vaval said he learned quickly that he needed to find a cheaper option.
Woodworking had significantly less financial risk and up-start costs than printmaking.
Vaval said Desmond had plenty of tools to start off with, and numerous people have donated wood, tables and additional equipment.
Currently, Vaval performs most of the woodwork while his wife helps out with crafting. Selma Wood Company has launched social media pages on for Facebook, Instagram and Etsy.
The products they sell on the market vary from home décor to bigger pieces of furniture.
“I have a heart for Selma and the people here. Some people here are struggling, and I am happy to give back. I grew up on an island struggling at times, so I can relate with those people,” Vaval said.
The next step for the growth of the business is expanding its online presence and improving the interior of the shop. Renovations will start around the first of the year. The company will also continue to expand its inventory and work to fix the best route for shipping.
Vaval said he and Kelli think about what Selma might be interested in, but it’s not always as simple as it sounds.
“We need to find where our niche is. We need to work on developing more content and getting out to the public eye. I always ask myself before if they truly would want this,” Vaval said.
Many of the Selma Wood Company’s pieces contain Bible verses or lyrics from Christian hymns. Vaval also tries to make sure the pieces are affordable for all budgets.
Vaval also tries to pay attention to giving people an affordable price for legitimate products. He said he wants to provide quality over quantity in all he does in the shop.
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