COVID-19 has left much of the US population with extra time to pursue hobbies and interests outside of school and work. One student at CVHS has even managed to curate her very own online store.
Meet Haylie LaBang, a senior whose self-run business under the name “PinkMenaceUS” has earned over $400 already through custom clothing and facial mask sales.
“One of my only hobbies is sewing, right? So, I feel like it’s a hobby that does not equate well in the job market,” LaBang said. “I thought that if I took the opportunity to start a sewing business now, it would be more profitable later … I’m really just making masks for my family, cute masks, masks that are actually fitted to people’s faces. I enjoy making people happy with what I sew.”
Four hundred dollars is a lot to accrue for the short time that the PinkMenaceUS store has been open, and it’s hard not to be curious about what kind of sales she was making.
“A majority of it was masks. I enjoy making them because they protect people, and they can be personalized to their liking. But, I also get commissioned a lot outside the store. I actually got a commission from a teacher to make a storage bag for the backs of the desk chairs. Otherwise, I focus on clothes.”
LaBang revealed that she has wanted to do this forever, but was so busy with school all the time. With quarantine, she had that extra time to actually sit down and spend time with her passion, learning new sewing techniques and advancing her craftsmanship with clothing.
Eventually, her pile of hand-made clothing became a bit much to handle, and at the time she figured a store would be a good way to not only free up some space, but also teach her critical business skills for the future.
“And, since we’re in COVID-19 times, everyone needs a mask. People want masks that fit and match the colors they wear. At the beginning of COVID-19, big companies weren’t mass producing them, so they relied on small businesses for reusable masks,” she said.
LaBang also wants to stress the intense care she puts into keeping her work area clean and sanitized.
Creating an audience or even just reaching out to others about your work is a task easier said than done for most, but LaBang is several steps ahead in the game.
“I promote my work on Twitter, and my mother helps share my work with her friends and colleagues on facebook. It’s mostly just pictures of my clothes, but I make sure my personality is still showing through,” she said. “I also have very good and loving friends who support my shop, and will talk about it to other people.”
As a senior, LaBang is one foot out the door into the world of making mature decisions and finding a way to support herself as an adult. So what did the PinkMenaceUS store hold for her, regarding her future?
“Ideally I would want to go into fashion design and have a line of clothes to sell, but it feels far away from where I am right now,” LaBang expressed. “Truly, I just want my hobby to be able to help other people, and maybe even make their day better. I can always worry about money later.”
LaBang can be easily contacted through her store, PinkMenaceUS, which can be found on various websites such as Etsy and Twitter.