Tie-dye designers build their home businesses amid a pandemic

Over the last few months, Joanna Fishman turned her Murray Hill apartment into a tie-dye studio.

"I guess you could say it was a business that was born out of quarantine," she said as she showed us her workspace over a Zoom call.

Her business started as a hobby, one that a lot of people turned to at the onset of quarantine to ward off boredom.

Fishman and her husband, an ICU doctor at a Manhattan hospital, both contracted COVID-19 in late March. She was furloughed from her job as a merchandiser at Macy's and as she recovered, she was looking for an outlet.

"I needed to do something to get my energy out and keep my mind off of things," she said. Tie-dyed items began filling her apartment and she started to sell them.

"I started selling to friends, families, I put it up on Instagram and that's how it all started," she said. Soon she was fielding inquiries from people who wanted their own T-shirts and tank tops. Last week, she got some 60 orders through her Instagram page another_tiedyed_shirt. Her offerings include adult and children's clothes and start around $25 each.

She's not the only one turning a tie-dye profit.

Sara Annapolen is a Westchester-based fashion designer behind the soon-to-be-launched resort wear brand Sara Joy. The pandemic delayed the launch of her new line, so she started tie-dying to occupy herself and her two young children.

"As a creative mom, I was like, 'Let's try it, let's do some tie-dye together,'" Annapolen said.

That led her to try tie-dying the latest must-have accessory: face masks.

"I started with a small batch of about 50 to 75 adult masks and about 75 children's masks and sold out within the first 24 hours within my local neighborhood," she said. Her masks cost between $15 and $20.

Tie-dye is certainly not a new trend but it is one a lot of people seem to be embracing all over again.

"I definitely think it's something nostalgic, and people are looking for that sense of comfort right now," Fishman said.


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