An Edinburgh mum has turned a lockdown activity with the kids into a business venture.
Sophie Pollock, 37, from Barnton, got into tie dyeing with her two kids, Emily, six and Ruby, two, along with husband Chris during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2020 whilst cooped up, they ordered a tie dye set in order to have some creative fun as a family but what Sophie didn’t realise was that she would fall in love with the art.
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The mum, who was made redundant in 2015, and decided to commit her time to raising her kids as a result.
The Edinburgh entrepreneur has since sold her clothing at the Ocean Terminal market after setting up That tie dye place, and is looking to grow her brand online.
On getting started she said: “In my previous life – pre kids – I worked in the gas industry in various positions, most recently a manager dealing with planning in street works gas mains replacement.
“When my eldest was three months old I was made redundant.
“We decided at that point that it would be easier if I stayed at home with the baby rather than start applying for jobs again two months after giving birth.
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“It’s my full time hobbyist profession. I’m just starting to make an ok income on it, and that’s thankfully down to me actually starting to properly advertise online and markets are restarting now after covid thank goodness!
“But in the Summer of 2020, like everyone else, we started doing anything we could to fill some time with our five month old and a four year old.
“We got a cheap tie dye kit and surprisingly had a great time doing it , myself more so than the kids.
“I was surprised as I had never been particularly arty but I loved the bright colours and the distraction from everything going on in the pandemic.
“After that I watched a million YouTube videos, joined a few groups on Facebook and began practising some more intricate folds. I bought some dylon dye and went from there.
“Now I’m in a lovely small online network of dyers from all over the country, from me here in Edinburgh down to a great friend I’ve made online in the Isle of Wight who shares tips, tricks, processes.”
Sophie orders her dye directly from the US and has just recently signed up to be a regular feature at the Ocean Terminal market after success at both Davidson Mains and Conifox markets last Christmas.
On juggling the business with being a mum, she said: “Everything is tricky as a mum but thankfully I’ve managed to find the time to do it.
“I find what I do in life, I do it to the extreme.
“So for example today I’ve dyed eight items of clothing which I will rinse out midweek.
“I also do one dye a day on top of that.
“My kids are so into it which helps, Ruby can tie a spiral brilliantly and Emily loves to do the stalls with me. They are both so supportive.
“The pandemic restrictions hit me mentally quite hard and I just preferred to stay in when all the shit was going on.
“Now things are opening up, I’m thrilled to be out there on the markets chatting to people and hearing the lovely compliments about things I’ve spent so much time planning and dyeing.
“It’s definitely a business where it’s better to see the pieces in real life rather than online. Especially outside when the sun catches them!
“I’ve had fun and learned a lot over the last 12 months. I’ve created an inventory of really great pieces that will keep their colours for decades to come and I’m still learning every day about what works and what sort of things people are looking to buy.”
The creative mum sells a mixture of items such as T-shirts, hoodies, jeans, denim jackets, bags, shorts, leggings and even underwear for burlesque performers.
She says that “if it’s white and cotton, I’ll try and dye it.”
Prices can range from £1.50 for socks to £50 hoodies/jackets and everything in between.
On her advice to any budding entrepreneurs, she said: “Do something you enjoy, don’t put a tonne of cash into it to begin with and don’t be paying anyone out of your profits.
“Creative classes for kids are big now and people love to buy handmade stuff as well as shopping locally nowadays.
“I’ve found selling my stuff for much cheaper than I used to means I sell more.
“The colours make people happy and everyone’s feeling the pinch now so find a business that solves a problem, that makes people smile and is affordable.
“I’m very lucky to have such a supportive family and husband who allow me to create and sell my stock at stalls.
“I really enjoy doing the stalls for now.
“It’s hard to say what I want in five years as my kids will be so much older by then and doing their own things, so perhaps I’ll find that I have more time on my hands than I do now.
“I just want to be bringing in enough money so that it’s worth the time away from my girls and that will satisfy me.”