Mary and Jay DanielsMeet Mary and Jay Daniel, owners of 78 Dezynes, a one-stop graphic design studio at River, Ky. Married 11 years, the two make a creative match: Mary enjoys sewing and painting and Jay likes working with mixed media, and many of his designs have a hot rod theme including flames and skulls. Each earned the Associate in Applied Science from Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) in May 2013, and together theyve opened 78 Dezynes. But for the Daniels, it is both their shared interests and differences that make their new roles as business owners work.

The Daniels would say that many lines had to intersect or end to lead them to todaybeginning with their own meeting. Mary was born in Charleston, S.C., and Jay in Paintsville. When Mary was a teenager, her dad worked in a Navy shipyard and was offered the opportunity to relocate. He turned down the first two offers, but when a position came open with the Corps of Engineers in Paintsville, he accepted. Marys family moved to eastern Kentucky, and she began her senior year at Johnson Central High School. It was a bit of a culture shock, she admits. It was there where she and Jay first met and became friends.

After high school, Jay went to work for the auto industry in Indianapolis. For two years he worked for Arvin Kayaba, LLC, a supplier of shocks and struts for auto manufacturers. After being laid off, he returned to Johnson County and picked up work laying carpet. Thats when Mary came back into his life. She, too, had lived away and returned.

They began their courtship and later married on June 23, 2004. Telling about that day, they both chuckle. They had gone to the justice of the peace, a man who also worked as an undertaker. He was running late, so he called and said, Ive got to put a casket in the funeral home, and Ill be right there. Maybe not the best omen, they say, chuckling.

Then during the ceremony he almost married me to the bridesmaid, Jay says, laughing.

The couple then moved to Charleston, S.C., where Jay worked for Holset Engineering, making turbos, for about eight months. After a lay-off, they moved to the small Johnson County community of River. At this time their son, John, was born. When he was two, the couple moved to Chicago where Jay again went to work for the auto industry and again got laid off.

After the third time of being laid off, we came home, Jay said.

The Daniels enrolled at BSCTC, both majoring in business administration.

Not long after, they saw a poster which advertised the colleges visual communications program. They talked to the programs director, Lori Lewis, and switched their majors.

Both Mary and Jay were already artists, and both felt drawn to the program. Jay said, We thought we might not get rich but at least well be happy. Their classes gave them practice in various areas of graphic design and gave each the opportunity to show off their creativity.

They were pleased that the two of them and all of their classmates not only passed the NOCTI test at the end of the two-year program, but all scored higher than the national average.

Jay said, Lori Lewis experience really came through. She had been out in the field and had experience. She clearly knew what she was doing.

Mary agreed: If you got stuck on a problem, Lori would come over and help you until you figured it out.

By graduation time, Jay and Mary had made their plans for the future and opened 78 Dezynes. We plan to stay in eastern Kentucky, and we wanted to start something here, Jay said. Hopefully, Id like to help people like me, and for people to see that workers here have more than just a strong back. We have a head on our shoulders.

Jay says of his wife: I think we complement each other so much. Im more of the one to think outside the box, and Mary is more of the one to handle customer relations. We were talking the other day, and one of us said, Maybe we spend too much time together. Then we both just started laughing.

Since opening theyve filled jobs for decals, business cards, signs, t-shirts, vinyl graphics and more. The Daniels are glad to have reached this point and hope to expand in the future. Both are grateful for the turns their lives have taken. Looking back, Mary said, I feel like Big Sandy really wanted us to succeed, to get a degree and get out there and work. And thats what we are doing.

For more information about their company, visit www.78dezynes.com or call (606) 789-5642 or email 78dezynes@gmail.com. For more information about BSCTCs visual communications department, contact Lori Lewis at (606) 788-2895 or email lori.lewis@kctcs.edu.