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dwa's story


Now more than ever, we need to feel connected to others. One of the ways I strive to do that is by creating different forms of art, specifically handcrafting, which allows people to smell, touch, and feel.   


Of all our senses, our sense of smell is most closely linked with memory and emotion. That is why for me, the scent of sandalwood triggers memories of my little brother, Coco, who always kept his beard sharp and smelled of the woodsy fragrance. After losing him to gun violence in 2017, I began recreating that scent in organic beard balms to honor his memory. 


Inspired by the positive response I received from users of my beard balms, I experimented with other body products. I spent much time crafting organic goat’s milk soap to treat some of my skin imperfections that I couldn't find a remedy for on store shelves. I also began making candles to foster tranquility, balance out moods, and create a zen zone to share with others. 


By intentionally creating quality products with love, I began to cope with my brother’s loss. Through this process, I realized how Depart with Art isn’t just a small business venture. It is a passion for life and a mission to keep creating for others. Before I depart from this world, I want to share pieces of my art and energy to help others.


Depart with Art is specially dedicated to Coco and other victims affected by gun violence. In their honor, we will donate a portion of our annual proceeds to anti-violence organizations.


In 2024, proceeds will go to READI Chicago (better known as Rapid Employment and Development Initiative of the Heartland Alliance Organization). This organization is taking a multi-layered approach to reduce violence in Chicago by implementing cognitive behavioral interventions and paid transitional jobs. READI is committed to helping people heal from trauma and develop skills that pave the way to a safer life and long-term resources. For more information about READI, please visit

All contributions are gratefully accepted if you're interested in supporting DWA's mission. 

With love,



Maribel for designing DWA's logo based on my abstract painting of Coco. Graphic design is just one of her many creative talents. Maribel offers services such as logo creation, brochure and flyer templates, business card designs, and anything else to meet your branding needs. She has worked in marketing for 14 years and is a self-taught graphic design enthusiast.       


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