I remembered my early stint as an entrepreneur, selling cinnamon-flavored toothpicks. Toothpicks were not “in” so I decided to learn how to make and sell tie-dye tee shirts.
My plan was to rent a space in the lobby of the university of Alabama post office right in the path of the University book store and sell my creations. I only had to pay $20 a day for the space plus a 10% cut on my gross sales.
I’d display my tie-dye tee shirts and hope people would buy. I remember being nervous when I first started. Would anyone actually want to buy one of my shirts?
My first shirts were, in a word, ugly. I made them using Rit dye, the kind you buy at any grocery store.
But I was determined.
Driven by a strong motivation I eventually developed a special process and my own unique style. Soon, I was turning out professional looking Tie Dye with quality, permanent fiber reactive dyes that my competitors could not match.
Some of my designs were those shocking bright ones that you might see at a Grateful Dead concert. But I also learned there are many people who would never consider wearing one of those freaky grateful dead looking shirts.
So I made my shirts for a more conservative market. After all, there are far more conservative people in the world then grateful dead fans. Also, my designs would not “bleed out” in the wash or fade. They were forever.
The retail and wholesale tie-dye business took off. One year later, I was exhibiting and selling at craft shows. I became the owner of a tie-dye T-shirt manufacturing business. I opened a retail store and did all the manufacturing in the back.
I developed a full color catalog and began selling wholesale to major retail department stores in the south. I even modeled in my own catalog. Before long, I was a B.M.O.C. (Big Man On Campus) as “The Tie-dye-guy”.
“I manufactured, retailed and wholesaled tie dye tee shirts for seven years.
My last two years of college, I converted a back room of my retail store into a bedroom and lived in my retail shop. I had a plumber install a shower, then I cancelled the lease on apartment and eliminated my apartment rent.
Profits from my tie-dye tee shirts were my main source of income throughout six year tenure of college. The business was profitable, but required intensive labor for creating the shirts and for staffing and managing the retail store.
Dealing with employee problems, maintaining expensive inventory, dealing with the retail sales tax, corporate deadlines, banks, retail overhead, manufacturing hassles, and the long retail hours left me feeling stifled, and once again limited by my time. Was this really much better than my dad’s orange motor home? I closed the store and began my search for a better way to financial freedom.
Fast forward 30 years later. I still enjoy creating Tie Dye clothing.
And today, I don’t have the headache of a larger retail and wholesale operation.
I now only work by appointment only.
I’ve been able to perfect my craft over the last 30 years and I hope that I’ll be able to make a creation for you.
Call or text for an appointment 858-692-9461
Cali Tie Dye is a tribute to all who dream for longer days of sunshine, beautiful people, ocean water and a laid back way of life. This is why I came back to Cali. And I hope our Cali Tie Dye creations can bring a little Cali into your life wherever you live. Locally, hand made under the California sun.
Cali Tie Dye offers you brilliantly colored, tie-dyed apparel professionally dyed on quality, 100% cotton stock. Each garment an original work of art -not just another T-shirt. We can design color combinations for old and young alike, from subtle pastels to the brightest rainbows.
Our colors and patterns are permanent and all garments are pre-washed for comfort. They may be machine washed and dried with other colored garments. See our work by clicking on the photos page to the top right of your screen.
Call or text for a no cost quote 858-692-9461