Stephanie Cerep graduated from Cranston West as a member of the class of 2004. She had attended Garden City Elementary and Western Hills Middle School.
Stephanie went on to attend the Berkshire Hills Music Academy in South Hadley, Mass., from 2013 to 2015. There, she was able to foster her love of the arts. She studied dance, singing, guitar, piano and voice. Along with these, she took classes for basic life skills such as cooking, laundry, and banking.
Stephanie, now 31, has Down syndrome. For the past 13 years she has been working with her aid, Sara Holt.
“It is the longest relationship I’ve been in,” Holt joked.
Recently, Stephanie started her own business called “Favorables.” The “able” is in a different font type to emphasize that there is ability in everyone.
Working with her mother Diane and Holt, Stephanie came up with the idea for “Favorables.” The business creates favors that people can pass out at parties, showers, meetings, conferences, weddings, and other occasions in which a gift is needed.
Stephanie enjoys being her own boss.
“I like being in charge, making decisions, but mostly making the money,” she said.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Stephanie had many jobs that were less than enviable.
“I cleaned restrooms, I stocked shelves. Nothing I really liked,” she said. “I like being crafty.”
Besides selling the favors, Stephanie makes special message rocks that she collects from Vermont.
All the favors are handmade and designed by Stephanie. They are customizable for various occasions, and the fillings are also available for choosing.
In September, Stephanie and Holt spent three days at the Abilities Expo in Boston for businesses that provide services, technologies, sports equipment, and other solutions to help with everyday life for people with disabilities.
“It was our first time selling to the public. We were very pleased with the feedback and support we received from all the vendors and attendees,” Holt said.
The CEO of the expo believes in emphasizing businesses run by people with disabilities, and actually gave the booth space – a value of $1,400 – to Stephanie for free.
Right now, they are looking to expand their client base, and get word of mouth going about the business. They have visited several small businesses in Cranston with samples of their goods.
“This is a real business … We went to City Hall, filed all the permits, filled out all the paperwork,” Holt said.
According to Holt, the goal for the business is to provide financial independence for Stephanie.
“My dream for the business is to get a vending truck,” she said.
Stephanie follows and believes in the motto of Favorables – “Be Good, Do Good, Feel Good, Kindness is Contagious.”
To learn more about Favorables, visit its Facebook page and website, favorables.rocks. 1
SHE ROCKS THE FAVORS:
Stephanie Cerep proudly displays just a few of her favorite handmade favor designs. (Herald photo by Pam Schiff)