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Sep 29, 2023

From Courtship to Craftsmanship – KayDee’s Upholstery

Love has a remarkable way of shaping our destinies, and for this man it all began with a simple act of courtship. Today, we bring you the heartwarming story of how Derrick Olivera’s romantic journey led to the creation of KayDee’s Upholstery, a thriving business built on hard work and shared dreams. The owner of KayDee’s Upholstery takes us back to where it all began, where love and furniture making meet, in this week’s look On the Bright Side.


Sabreena Daly, Reporting

Love has a funny way of changing our lives and, for Derrick Olivera, the journey to discovering his true passion began with the simple act of courting his wife, Kiera. What began as a romantic gesture eventually blossomed into KayDee’s Upholstery, a thriving business that now stands as a testament to hard work, determination, and a shared dream. Derrick Olivera, the owner of KayDee’s Upholstery, recalls the beginning of his journey.

Derrick Olivera

Derrick Olivera, Owner, KayDee’s Upholstery

“She was working at Carter’s Upholstery on secretariat terms and I always came around to take her to work. She was my girlfriend at the time; I introduced myself and walked her to work. So, gradually we started dating and it worked out that I was there everyday talking to her, meeting her and everything. So I said, well, while I’m there I did not want to interrupt her work so I would go to the back and hang out with the boys.”


Derrick learned the skill of furniture making from seasoned craftsmen at Carter’s Custom Upholstery. But soon enough, he realized that this was a venture he had come to love.

Derrick Olivera
“You have tailors, you have builders, and you have shooters. Tailors, they cut it up, sew it up, prepare it, cut the material, then you got the shooters. The shooters come now with the competition, where we end up shooting against each other. Meaning to say, you have one sofa, I have one sofa and who could finish it the fastest. When I gradually started to do it, I realized this is something I could do and I could hold on to it long term. So I decided to go and start investing, invest in myself, as in getting a machine, getting stuff. Basically, if you don’t have a machine, you don’t have a compressor, things like that, you can’t move forward.”


He recounts challenging himself to make a sofa on his own for the first time. The proceeds from this venture would be his ticket to kick-start his business. Derrick attributes the origins of KayDee’s to a kind stranger who saw his passion and determination. She took a chance on him and his business took off.

Derrick Olivera
“She believed in me. I was just working, knowing how to do it, but doing it personally on your own is different from just being a workman. She had confidence in me and asked me if I wanted to do this for myself. I told her I can do this. So, she said okay I will give you your first job. She gave me a sectional to do. So when she gave me that opportunity, for me, it just opened my doors. I went and bought my sewing machine, and from there, that’s a sentimental machine for me, because of her. She gave me that first job, and I just bloomed from there. I bought everything, a sewing machine, I got the compressor, then I got my gun. I started to buy me stuff, and then from there people started to recognize that, you know, I could give this young man an opportunity.”


According to Olivera, purchasing your couch from an upholstery shop has some advantages. Besides helping out local businesses, you’re likely to get something that will stand the test of time.

Derrick Olivera
“If you’re buying from any upholstery business, you’re giving back to us, giving back to the local, giving back to the society because we do purchase our stuff from local stores as well. We go to Micados and buy our material. We go to the lumber yard and buy our lumber. We go to Habet and buy nails, fasteners, and clips. So, it’s like you’re helping a hand to help a hand. All of that said, for me, when I do it, it’s cost effective. When you’re buying from an upholstery shop, you should have the benefit of the doubt of having something for at least five to six years, that will last and outstand the compact wood that you’re getting now. A lot of the material that is coming is compact wood. In Belize we use solid wood, solid frame.”


And it’s not just living room sets that KayDee’s Upholstery handles; Olivera also has a knack for reviving car seats, like the one we found him working on.


Derrick Olivera

“This is a truck seat. Overall, a freightliner. Most of the freightliner truck seats are damaged. So when they bring the frame, sometimes it’s just the frame. So I would have to cut all the sponge, cut out everything and design something for the top and slip it over.”


If you ask Derrick, he’d tell you that he’s happiest when facing the challenge of crafting sofas from scratch, whether it’s his own idea or something his clients dream up. These are the jobs that let creativity soar because there’s no set plan to stick to.


Derrick Olivera
“There’s no blueprint to build a sofa. There is none. If someone says they have a blueprint to it, they don’t. You could design, but things change, the mats change, the dimension change, so there’s never an official blueprint.”


Sabreena Daly

“Is this something that you love?”


Derrick Olivera

“Literally, literally. I find myself in a comfort zone. Most of the time, if I am under here and I have my music playing as I normally do or my TV, I just get in a comfort zone and I go down, you know.”



“You could be here for hours, huh?”


Derrick Olivera

“Sometimes I am here in the shop all night, my wife trips. Sewing is driving. If you can’t drive properly or decently, you can’t sew. There are curves. You detect the curve. You want to stop in the lane and turn. Start all over. Drive to the end of the lane. Stop. Brakes. Gas. Brakes. Indicator, turn your lane, and drive up the street.”


Olivera has a vision for his business to be a convenient place where you can buy his readymade sofas or turn your own sofa ideas into reality. We also had the opportunity to talk to the woman who kick-started it all, the muse who helped Olivera achieve his dream, his wife, Kiera Olivera, to hear her thoughts on her husband’s inspiring journey.


Kiera Olivera

Kiera Olivera, Wife

“Knowing that I started it, while working at Carter’s before him and he became loving the process and feeling happy at this point, I’m very proud of him that he reached so far. And with a supportive wife as I am, we’ll reach the star no matter what.”

Derrick Olivera

“It’s a journey, and it’s an improvement in life, showing you that anything is possible. Anything is possible. Life will throw curveballs, but anything is possible. If you want it, you can push and accomplish it.”


Sabreena Daly
“So Derrick, how am I doing?”


Derrick Olivera

“Looking good so far.”


Looking on the bright side, I’m Sabreena Daly.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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