- How did COVID start your business?—— It’s a real quarantine “project” turned business. I was laid off from my corporate job in NYC on Friday the 13th (no joke) and shortly thereafter the Amazon packages started flying in every day which I am now super sensitive to because it goes against everything I am doing now building a small business but at the time I had no idea, I just kept ordering “stuff”…art supplies, jewelry kits, tie-dye kits, cookbooks, air fryers. The Tie-dye Kit was a hit and I started with old shirts and sweatshirts I had and then I ordered a few blanks and would test a few different styles, colors, I would shred some with scissors for a distressed look and every few days I would post my pics on Instagram! At first, I thought the DMs were just people being nice saying things as I would totally buy that, can you make me one, etc. and I didn’t really follow up – then they would send me back and say how should I pay? or can you do that in a large? and next thing I knew everything I was making was selling and every day I had DM’s with custom requests. That was in early May, I guess you can say the rest is history.
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- So, since you started without a real plan, now what is the vision for The Sweaty Blonde?——I have given that a lot of thought lately and today the vision is to continue to build a hip, cool, chic, clothing + accessories brand that is handmade + hand finished by me…also working in collaboration on exclusives with other like-minded designers.
- How do you see the brand developing?——The ultimate long-term goal is a Lifestyle Brand and while it will always be rooted in tie-dye, we will begin to see more patterns, fabric, and texture. Think Sweaty Throws, Beach Blankets, Sling Bags like we did before but better!!
- What are your expectations for The Sweaty Blonde this time next year? —— Oh geez!!! So hard to say…a Sweaty Van / Airstream, more wholesale stores, a Podcast, a real production facility…I guess not in that in order.
- What inspires you most about the work you do?—— I’ve never considered myself a creative and not really a business person either. I think I’m an academic at heart but that won’t pay the bills so really I am enjoying the creativity and no rules, I make what I like. I am also inspired to use The Sweaty Blonde as a platform for good!! As my following grows and my sales grow I am committed to giving back a portion of my sales monthly to different charities that I feel passionate about. In addition to financial donations, each month The Sweaty Blonde donates all “Sweatys” that did not meet our “quality control” inspection to the local community center. November is dedicated to The Westchester Community Christmas Dinner.
- What have been some of the biggest challenges you have faced along the way? And did any come as a huge surprise?——- I would have to say USPS, when I need them they are late, and when its no rush packages arrive days early. It’s frustrating but you deal. The other challenge has been keeping the right sizes stocked. Getting the ordering + inventory is my biggest challenge right now. Again, one week everyone orders XL’s next week it’s all SM.
- What has been the best part of being a small business owner?——The freedom of doing what I want, when I want, how I want for who I want – not really but there is a great sense of Freedom. I sometimes also wonder how in the world life changes so quickly and what could have been a pretty crummy situation turned out to be a new path for me that who knows maybe this is one I’ll be on for a while. I go with the flow…I’ve never been one to do things the “way you are supposed to” – will that even exist after COVID? I hope not for young people. I hope this pandemic has made all ages pause and think – what am I doing? why am I doing it? and am I Happy?? We have to stop going through the motions because that’s what we are supposed to do…say’s who? The guy on the train for 30 years before me who is miserable? I don’t get it…anyway
- It sounds like The Sweaty Blonde has grown to become more than a one-man show – have you considered hiring any help? —Yes, it’s ongoing! I have a couple of awesome part-timers. I also have an Intern since the beginning (aka my mom + now partner) but I’m not sure how we will handle the dying. I want to do the dying!!!
- Where is The Sweaty Blonde Based? ——My parent’s 100-year Farmhouse in Katonah, NY + the summer HQ is my grandparents 120-year-old Victorian on Block Island…not exactly the state of the art facilities but the rent is good!!
- Do you have plans to find space??——YES!! Where – I don’t know. When – I don’t know. But I’ve put it out there so something will come up!!
- What’s next for The Sweaty Blonde, I haven’t heard you talk about opening your own boutique?——- Not right now…overhead I just can’t support and still handle production. I see The Sweaty Blonde as more of Summer POP UP locations + a “boutique on wheels” traveling to cool “vacationy” locations. We are focused on growing our online business and wholesale at the moment.
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- Where can we buy the Sweaty Blonde? ——We are in 14 fabulous boutiques from the Jersey Shore to Westchester, Connecticut, RI + MA…Block Island, Cape Cod + we just added Martha’s Vineyard which I am so excited about. Hoping I can find the right fit in ACK and MTK for Summer 21 and I’ll be super pumped!!!