Art and Design
Darbie Angell’s turn her passion for art into an entrepreneurial endeavor. After being on bed rest after a pregnancy, she decided to combine her knowledge for design with her desire to impact the world. Cru Dinnerware was born.
In the years since, her dinnerware collections have been picked up by such major retailers as Dillard's, Macy's, Bed Bath & Beyond and Disney.
A touch of whimsy
Her elegant, sometimes whimsical designs are featured in a number of magazines, including Veranda, Bridal Guide, Elle Décor and Martha Stewart Weddings. Her pieces also have found their way onto some famous tabletops, including those of film star Leonardo DiCaprio, NFL football player Andre Gurode and President Barack Obama - not bad for a stay-at-home mom turned entrepreneur.
Inspired by ACU's art program
Angell, who attended ACU until 2004, is still amazed by how far her art and design education has taken her.
"Looking back on where I started in Jack Maxwell's art class, afraid of drawing a leaf and getting to this point to have the confidence to share my thoughts and designs with the most creative people in the world, is nothing short of God truly being at work in all of this," she says.
Like any successful entrepreneur, Angell hopes her company will continue to flourish. But her dreams go beyond commercial success. She also wants to make the world a better place.
The sales of some of her products support orphanages in South America, and her plates are made at a factory in Bangladesh that feeds its employees three meals daily. The story of a 14-year-old leukemia victim prompted Angell to design a collection named after the victim and donate a portion of the sales to pediatric cancer research. She partners with UNICEF to dig water wells in third-world countries. She invites visitors to her website to suggest other worthy causes her company might support.
She believes her time at ACU helped shape her into the entrepreneur and person she is today.
"I think ACU gave me something that is not in a class: strength that is needed to make it over obstacles that look impassable, the drive to make a difference in the world and, most importantly, amazing Christian friends who support me and also keep me in line," she says.
That might be as good a "happily ever after" as any fairy tale ever knew.