An Interview with the West Island Tie-Dye Queen: Jordyn Shell

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Jordyn Shell, 25-year-old Dollard-des-Ormeaux resident has recently been gaining lots of traction from creating her very own tie-dye charity. She tie-dyes the clothes herself, most notably using the Champion brand sweaters and crewnecks. 100% of the proceeds go towards the COVID relief fund at the Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, Ontario. Take a look at my interview with the tie-dye queen herself about her motivations behind this successful initiative.

How did this tie-dye initiative start? Why tie-dye?

I was looking at bleaching sweatsuits from TikTok, and all I wear is black clothing so it’s hard to believe. I started bleaching things in the garage, basically bleaching with acid wash everything I own and I started posting it on Instagram. I began getting all kinds of messages like “OMG I’m obsessed, when are you going to sell these?”, at first in my head I was like “weird, no, I’m not going to sell them…” but then my mom woke me up one day finding bottles of dye in the basement, she mentioned we should try something with it and get creative. So I started posting here and there, I even made an Instagram poll asking my followers if I should start selling, and immediately my Instagram messages blew up.

Where do the profits go and why does it mean so much to you?

Okay, so the truth is, most of my friends lost their jobs during the pandemic. I think I am one of the only people in my friend group that still has a full-time job, so I felt really uncomfortable making a second source of income during a pandemic. I’m not going to start selling sweaters at 80$ a pop and pocket the money, that just wouldn’t be fair. So I tried to think of a way to do this while also giving back.

About 14 months ago my dad passed away. That anniversary recently passed and it got me thinking about how I should get more involved in the community. So my sister is a doctor in Kitchener, Ontario at the Grand River Hospital and she was telling me about a foundation in which they buy everything related to COVID, such as masks and ventilators. It was Friday night I was sitting in bed and I connected all the dots; I was going to raise money and donate it to the foundation at the hospital in my father’s memory. My father his whole life was entrepreneurial and would always tell me “Jordyn you have sales in you”, and I never really had the opportunity to really explore that side of me until now. I’ve raised close to about $4000 so far and I donate absolutely 100% of the profits to the COVID relief fund at the hospital.

Can you walk me a little bit through the process of making these clothes?

I order in bulk from amazon all these white Champion sweaters and for the last 6 weeks, we’ve been tie-dying. My friends help me tremendously. So with my unbelievable army of godsend friends, I have an elastic girl, a spreadsheet girl, a wrapper, I have someone to help me with folding by size, someone that untags everything and the list goes on. So first we tie the sweaters with an elastic then I start getting creative with the colourful dyes, leave them in a bin for about an hour, un-elastic them, rapid wash them in the washing machine, dryer, thank you note and that’s it. It’s then primarily pick up service at my house in DDO, I live right by Centennial Park.

Will you continue this initiative in the future, even after COVID?

So order wise I have a good month left just to get through my backlog, but after that, I would need to figure out what I’m going to do because I recently suffered an allergic reaction to some of the dyes, primarily the yellow one. I definitely want to wean out the colours that affected me and see if I can still tie-dye and live my life, so that’s the first thing. Where I’m at in my head is just to just complete my orders, sign the check and donate it. If I want to continue then maybe down the line I’ll do 50% of proceeds donated and keep 50% of the profits, but I would never make it my full-time job. If everything all goes to plan and my health permits me to do so, then absolutely.

Can you tell me about your pop up shop?

I had my first pop up shop last Sunday, from 11-4 in front of my house on my lawn (COVID-style) in DDO. I had a lineup down my street and we basically sold out in 20 minutes! I started counting the money and it was honestly the most heartwarming moment, I started crying because I really feel like I’m making a difference. People coming together is a real thing and I couldn’t be more grateful. My last pop up will be this Sunday, June 21st on fathers day and it honestly means so much because I couldn’t think of a better way to honour him.

Best way to contact you?

Definitely Instagram. I post everything there such as all the colour options, prices etc. I accept cash (exact change) or e-transfer.

60$ – Champion Hoodies

45$ – Champion crewnecks

25$ – T-shirts (or 2 for 40$)

15$ – Tank top (or 2 for 25$)

                                                         5$ – Socks

Colours available range from baby pink, black, purple, tangerine, neon green, coral, teal, denim blue, forest green and more.

ON JUNE 21st THIS SUNDAY SHE WILL HOST HER LAST POP UP SHOP OUTSIDE HER HOUSE IN DDO FROM 11-4.

Follow her on Instagram @jordynshell for more info.

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Leanna is a communications student at Concordia University with a passion for storytelling. You’ll see her at your favourite events carrying her camera and tripod, where she probably already asked if you’d like to be interviewed. Her vibrant energy and wicked social skills enable anyone to have a meaningful conversation with her, so go say hi! You’ll often find her at a cute cafe drinking an Instagram-able overpriced coffee while editing her videos. As an aspiring videojournalist, Leanna wants to hear YOUR stories so she can ultimately help further that sense of community in the West Island.

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