Contemporary tie and dye by young entrepreneurs

Tell us about yourselves.
My name is Onyinye Monu. I am 13 years old and my sister Ijeoma Monu, a co-owner of the business, is 11 years old.

Tell us about your brand name and how it came to life.
Our company name is Sunburst tie dye. We chose that name because we wanted to make our company name fun and colourful just like our products. The burst in the name represents the burst of colours on the clothes we make.

There was a switch from at least two businesses before you eventually settled with tie and dye. Tell us about them and why you didn’t carry on with them?
During the summer holiday of 2015, we started a coconut candy business from the coconut trees in our compound in Asaba. The business went very well and we sold a lot of our products to our friends and family members and even people on the streets. The business ended after the holiday. We also used to make and sell loom bands. We love to bake as well and plan to own a pastry company in the future.

Why tie and dye?
We found it quite interesting and it was not common amongst our peers. We knew that if started the tie dye business, a lot of people would like the idea and give us their old white clothing so we can make them colourful.

The business of tie and dye is not a very common business among kids, where did you get the idea from?
We came across it on youtube and it is actually very popular in America.

How do you come up with designs for the fabric?
Our designs are unique and we get our inspiration from things around us. We also have a manual that comes with the tie dye kit which contains different designs.

Who are your role models in the tie and dye business and the business world as a whole?
Erma Duncan, founder of Ilovetocreate inspires us alot. Also our mum and dad are our role models in business because they teach us how to focus on our work and they also support us.

Being an entrepreneur has different impacts on people, how do you feel about being an entrepreneur?
Honestly, It makes us happy to be able interact with people and to create unique designs for them. We are excited that we can make profit from the things we are good at.

Tie and dye involves using chemicals which can be hazardous to one’s health, what are the safety measures you put in place to manage these hazards?
We use mats and we wear aprons and hand gloves when making the tie and dye. We also wash and rinse our products thoroughly when the process is completed.

What are your challenges in the tie and dye business and how were you able to handle them?
Lack of funding is our major challenge but our parents support us a lot by loaning us the money to buy the materials we need.

What do you do with the profits you make from your business?
We put it back into our business and also repay the loans we take from our parents.

Most people do not really embrace tie and dye fabrics. So how do you sell your products?
We don’t think that’s correct because when we started the business, a lot of people were interested in bringing their old clothes for us to make them look colourful and renewed.

Do you name the designs on the fabrics? If yes, tell us some of the names you’ve given to your designs. If no, would you consider doing that?
Every design in the manual has a name already but we can consider creating our own names in the future.

Tie and dye business is a time consuming business because you have to start from getting the right fabric to mixing the right quantity of chemicals and all the processes involved. How do you balance all that with school work?
We do it at weekends and sometimes after school when we finish all our school work.

Where do you see yourselves in five years?
We will still be in school but we plan to continue with our business while studying and we pray it grows into an international brand someday.


What important lessons have you learnt from being an entrepreneur?
We have learnt to never give up even when our business is not going well. We have also learnt to always have faith and believe in ourselves and our abilities.

What is your advice to kids who want to be entrepreneurs but think being a business owner is a “thing” for adults?
We would advise kids who want become entrepreneurs to know that owning a business is not only for adults and if they have a vision or a plan, they should go for it without fear.

They should also be ready to learn more about their business so they can become competent.

Materials needed
Dyeing Surface should be a disposable work surfaces such as cardboard, newspapers or plastic tarp.
Personal protection such as aprons and rubber gloves to protect skin from dye staining and irritation.
Cups or bottles in which to mix dye colors.
Rubber bands to tie the fabrics, squeeze bottles, brushes or other tools to apply dye.

Steps
Step 1- Place the fabric on dyeing surface and fold, tie or twist it into the pattern you want to dye.
Step 2 – Mix the dye powder with water to make your dye colors. You can control the shade of colors by using different quantities of water.
Step 3 – Apply the dye using a squeeze bottle.
Step 4 – Leave it tied up and wrap the dyed fabric in a cling film and leave it for 8-10 hours.
Step 5 – Loosen the fabric and rinse thoroughly in cold running water until no more dye comes out. Then wash using detergent.
Step 6 – Allow the fabric to dry and then it is ready to wear.

In this article:
Onyinye Monu


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