Young Entrepreneurs Sell Tie-Dye Masks
By Jennifer Ersalesi
Photo credits: Jennifer Mazone, Bree Ben-Ami, and Jaime Caprio
While trying to beat summer boredom and stay safe during these very difficult times, three young female entrepreneurs have organized their own “company” where they use their artistic talent to make tie-dye face masks. Gianna Caprio, Phoebe Mazone, and Avery Ben-Ami, ages nine and ten, worked together to come up with a fun business plan to help make colorful, unique face masks for everyone. This is Rutherford interviewed these creative young women this past week to learn more about this business adventure.
TIR: Whose idea was it to make and sell tie-dye masks?
Gianna Caprio: I came up with the idea one day when I was at the track with Phoebe and Avery. We all talked about it and got some tie-dye kits and white cotton masks from Amazon. Then we started figuring out how to make them and how to sell them.
TIR: How do you make the masks?
Gianna Caprio: We put rubberbands around the wet cotton masks and then we use all different dyes.
Avery Ben-Ami: We figured out that the rainbow loom rubberbands work best, so we have been using them.
GC: We had to redo our first batch because we used too many colors and they turned out brown. We had to experiment a little.
AB: We started to use different colors, like red and blue, which seemed to work a lot better.
PM: We made the masks in my backyard.
TIR: Where have you been selling the masks?
AB: We have been selling the masks outside Gianna’s house on the corner of Grand Ave and Monona Ave. There are a lot of people driving down this street to get to Memorial Field.
GC: We hung the masks on the fence using bobby pins so people could see them when they drove or walked by my house. We are going to keep selling them this way for a while.
TIR: Who has been buying the masks?
GC: We already sold so many masks; fifty of them. We now have people ordering them, so we have to make at least fifty-five more. The price is $6 for one mask and $10 for two masks.
AB: So if someone wants four masks, it would be $20, because two masks are $10. We tried selling them at Tryon field, but that did not work as well as selling them by Gianna’s house.
PM: My mom and Avery’s mom have been posting photos on Facebook and we got some orders that way too. We even got orders from some people in other states, like Florida.
TIR: Do the masks come in different sizes?
GC: They are one size fits all. We put them in bags with rainbow loom bracelets we make too. They can be tightened by tying the strings or adding beads to the strings to shorten the strings.
Jaime Caprio, Gianna’s mom, explained, “The masks don’t shrink, they are adjustable, washable and reversible, so they are really easy to use and clean.”
TIR: Why do you like making the masks?
GC: It is fun to add colors, mix them, and then it is like a mystery to see how it will turn out.
AB: I like to experiment with the different styles, like the accordion-styles and other ways.
PM: I get to be with my friends. We get to learn more about tie-dying too.
TIR: Why are masks so important right now?
PM: We wear them to protect each other.
AB: They help to stop the spread.
GC: If someone is sick at the store you have a mask on to protect yourself.
This is Rutherford asked the three mothers of these talented young girls what they thought of the AGP Tie-Dye Masks “company” and their daughters’ accomplishments.
Jaime Caprio (Gianna’s mom): I thought it was just something they wanted to do for fun, but then one day Gianna came downstairs dressed and ready for “work”. I realized it was more than just fun. I am super proud. They are dedicated and always ready to get to work. Gianna had everything set up by eight am that first morning and she was calling Phoebe (who lives next door) to come over, not long after Avery joined as well.
Jennifer Mazone (Phoebe’s mom): I thought they did a great job especially when it came to teamwork. At first, I just thought this was going to be an arts and crafts project in the backyard, but soon I realized it was more. I am impressed with their enthusiasm. Since the girls are keeping their profits, I spoke to Phoebe about donating 10% of the money she earns to a charity organization. She chose the North Shore Animal League. I am proud of her.
Bree Ben-Ami: I am impressed with what they get to learn as they are working on this. They have learned about budgeting, how to determine what people will be willing to pay, and how to make a profit while using some of their profits to buy more masks and supplies to keep their business going.
The girls are also spreading the word about their masks through their Instagram account (agp_tie_dye_masks_) and through TikTok.