Howdy! I'm Dan Lambert from Yorktown VA. I created Tie Dye Dan as my personal brand then Dye Happy as my clothing brand. This is my story, my pursuit of happiness.
Dan • The Early Years
When I was young my Mom, the artist, kept pushing me to do something artistic. I picked tie dye. It was easy, I could make a mess, and make Mom happy. I didn't plan to, but I started getting into it.
Friends offered to pay me to make shirts for them, but I was lazy back then so I just said No. Later when I told them I was going to start selling my tie dye they told me I couldn't make it selling tie dye.
Tie Dye Dan • The Idea
The idea came to me in the Summer of 2016, a year before Dye Happy, while working a double split shift at Chipotle.
I heard Bill Murray's voice in my head, as Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters, saying "Janine, someone with your qualifications would have no trouble finding a top-flight job in either the food service or housekeeping industries." All I could think was I need to get out of here and figure out how to make money doing something I actually enjoy.
Feeling optimistic I bought a pack t shirts and a tie dye kit. Tie Dye Dan became my brand when I started wearing only tie dye and people recognized me as Tie Dye Dan. When I posted people wearing my tie dye on Instagram I started getting online orders, even a few international orders.
Dye Happy • The Brand
Spring 2017 I created the Dye Happy brand and started applying it to my tie dye with a heat press. The response was crazy. Everyone loved it.
That Summer I applied to be a vendor at Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market It was a long shot, but seemed like a good idea. They said a local non-farm vendor with some color and enthusiasm seemed like a good idea. We were both right.
That Fall I got some free publicity in the JMU Breeze newspaper, JMU student known as 'Tie-Dye Dan' gains' popularity. Then I got some more in The Virginia Journal, Tie-Dye Dan” Transformed His Hobby Into An International Business.
Dye Happy and Kendama
Winter 2017 I applied to my first kendama event Battle at the Border 2018 to be a vendor. I'd played kendama for years, but I'd never been to an event. I couldn't afford the vendor fee and travel costs, so my good friend Chad Covington, owner of Sol Kendamas, said he'd waive the fee if I made the event shirts.
Insane! I'm making the event shirts and competing at a kendama event. I bombed, but it didn't matter. My new friends, some of the best Kendama players in the world, became my Dye Happy Family
Dan • The Businessman
Winter 2018 I setup this website with help from fellow JMU Society of Entrepreneurs (SOE) member and entrepreneur Chris Ashley, who told me to apply for JMU's Summer Venture Accelerator Program.
Summer 2018, JMU paid me to develop my business. As if that wasn't cool enough, my association with the program got me a meeting at Life is Good, the company I aspire to emulate.
January 2019 I go to Boston MA and meet Bert and John Jacobs and the head of every department. It was insane. The most memorable thing echoed by Bert and John was "If you think this is going to be easy or quick, do something else".
Spring 2019 I start applying to arts and craft festivals and music events. Now I spend my weekends out of town building the brand. Life's a journey and I feel like I'm going in the right direction.