Elizabeth Lumley, granddaughter Kylie Ounsted and daughter Amy Lumley with a selection of Elizabeth’s decals. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Elizabeth Lumley, granddaughter Kylie Ounsted and daughter Amy Lumley with a selection of Elizabeth’s decals. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Small decal business allows Nanaimo woman to help family

Elizabeth Lumley helps out her daughter Amy, who has lost both her legs

Decals shaped like Vancouver Island that grace vehicle rear windows are a labour of love for a Nanaimo mother and grandmother.

Elizabeth Lumley started her business Diamond Decals in 2017.

Her daughter, Amy Lumley, born with spina bifida, had lost part of her leg due to complications.

“Amy had become very ill and her life was falling apart at the same time and the combination of the two was – she needed help,” Elizabeth said. “Somebody had to step in and help her, you know, like what any mother would do.”

It was a friend who suggested Elizabeth make vehicle decals that she could sell at local markets.

“It was crazy, the decals were just selling like mad,” Elizabeth said. “I just followed [the friend’s] lead. She had introduced me to the world of markets and … we just went from there.”

The decal business kept growing. A sales booth at the VIEX the following year connected her with the Nanaimo Museum, which now carries her products in its gift store. But it was the Petro-Canada gas station at Nanoose Bay that became the business’s first retail outlet when the franchise owner asked if Elizabeth was interested in wholesaling to the business.

“I had no idea what I was doing, whatsoever,” Elizabeth said. “Our packaging was so rudimentary. Our labelling was so bad. He didn’t care.”

Diamond Decals have spread through online sales to the U.S. and other countries, but Island retail and tourism outlets make up the bulk of sales.

Elizabeth doesn’t earn a living from the business, but it does enable her to help her daughter and grand-daughter Kylie Ounsted.

Amy underwent 14 surgeries to try to save her right leg before it was amputated. Recurring infections and complications in her left leg led to the decision to amputate it below the knee as well a year ago. Amy now attends school to try to become a dental receptionist, but relies on her mother’s help.

“She does a lot to support us,” Amy said. “She’ll come and pick Kylie up, all the way across town, to bring her to school. [The business] helps to pay for gas. She brings us groceries … she just does everything to help support her family with the business.”

Elizabeth has no formal training and prints everything in her home. She’s now working with ink sublimation processes to create images on T-shirts, computer mouse pads, puzzles and other items.

“If you can think it, she can make it … she does do a lot for non-profits and charities and she doesn’t charge anything other than just for materials,” Amy said.

Amy and eight-year-old Kylie have helped out, too. Amy has done web posting and social media and Kylie has helped with packaging, created designs of her own, trimmed decals after they’ve been printed and helped her grandmother at markets.

“I really have fed off other people’s experience and their suggestions,” Elizabeth said. “Some people will suggest something to me and I’m, like, what’s it going to hurt to try? Let’s try something and see what happens,” she said.

To learn more, visit www.facebook.com/diamonddecalsvi.


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