How A 17 Year Old Started A Tie Dye Empire

Jake’s Tie Dye really started in 2014, when I was a freshman in high school. My sisters and I got bored one weekend, and found ourselves at a craft store looking through the DIY section, and spotted the tie dye kits. The three of us agreed on a particular tie dye kit, and headed home with a pack of white shirts. 

---We discovered that we loved tie dye so much that we continued to tie dye pretty regularly. We recruited all our friends, and any visiting family, to tie dye with us and tried to get them hooked on tie dye just like us.

After each of us had collected about 8 shirts, our mom came in with some realism (how like a mom to do that). She asked if we had a plan for all the tie dye we were creating or if we were just making it to wear. We said, “Of course we don’t have a plan! Go away mom.” But she did have a point, and we eventually  took her advice to think about what we wanted to do with all of the tie dye we were making. We slowed our tie dyeing operation down to the casual summer day activity and special occasions. We did get compliments on our tie dye whenever we wore it and people were always shocked that we, ourselves, had made it. And we even sold some of our creations! (That’ll come back into play later, trust me.)

Fast forward to the summer of 2017 when I was about to start my senior year of high school. This was the peak of the adults in my life asking, “So what’re you going to do when you graduate? College? Trade school? Gap year? Plans? Any plans?”

-----All I knew for sure was that I wasn’t sure at all.

What I did know was that I wanted to work with my hands to create something. I started down the path to possibly be an animator for Disney or Pixar. That changed once I realized how arduous that journey would be. Because I wasn’t even absolutely sure I wanted to do that!

--I went back to the drawing board and suddenly remembered tie dye.

That I loved tie dye. I loved being able to create something with my hands that was brand new every time. No matter how hard you try, each tie dye shirt will have its very own personality and life. Same colors, same design, same hands making it, and it will still be unique in its own way.

I spent the rest of 2017 planning, thinking, and dreaming.

Is tie dye still ‘in’? Where can I sell my tie dye? What would I call my business? How do you even sell things online?

----Those questions and so, so many more got answered before and after Jake’s Tie Dye opened on January 28th, 2018. I started on Etsy and sold well over 14,000 pieces of tie dye in just over 4 years.

In early 2022 I knew I needed some room to grow and continue on my journey to be a fully formed business and brand. Jake’s Tie Dye moved to it’s own website (the one you’re on now! Very meta, I know!) and thus started its 2nd iteration in the summer of 2022.

-----So that brings us to now! Still running my business and loving just about all of it. Thank you so much to everyone who’s supported me on my journey and gotten me to where I am today. And thank you to you, yes you! For taking time out of your day to read more about lil ole me and my tie dye business.

I would have never thought that Jake’s Tie Dye would be growing and flourishing the way that it is. 

17 year old Jake would be so proud.

-23 year old Jake