Sew those scrunchies

Junior runs a small business selling handmade hair ties

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Sew those scrunchies

When one enters the Zieg household it's not uncommon to see junior Emily Zieg working diligently on sewing scrunchies for her business ScrunchEEZ. Zieg gained interest in sewing during middle school, but she didn't start producing the scrunchies until this year.

When one enters the Zieg household it's not uncommon to see junior Emily Zieg working diligently on sewing scrunchies for her business ScrunchEEZ. Zieg gained interest in sewing during middle school, but she didn't start producing the scrunchies until this year. "All of my friends were really excited when I told them I was going to start this business," Zieg said. "They all wanted me make one for them and pay me for it, which I thought was really cool."

photo courtesy of Emily Zieg

When one enters the Zieg household it's not uncommon to see junior Emily Zieg working diligently on sewing scrunchies for her business ScrunchEEZ. Zieg gained interest in sewing during middle school, but she didn't start producing the scrunchies until this year. "All of my friends were really excited when I told them I was going to start this business," Zieg said. "They all wanted me make one for them and pay me for it, which I thought was really cool."

photo courtesy of Emily Zieg

photo courtesy of Emily Zieg

When one enters the Zieg household it's not uncommon to see junior Emily Zieg working diligently on sewing scrunchies for her business ScrunchEEZ. Zieg gained interest in sewing during middle school, but she didn't start producing the scrunchies until this year. "All of my friends were really excited when I told them I was going to start this business," Zieg said. "They all wanted me make one for them and pay me for it, which I thought was really cool."

By Chloe Parker, Millard West High School

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Scrunchies. These small fabric hair ties were considered one of the ultimate 80’s accessories, however, as times changed, they lost popularity and were seen as a very “uncool” thing to wear. Now, the trend has resurfaced with fashion icons embracing the once unliked hair tie. The trend has even rubbed off on the teens of today, and one person, in particular, has taken advantage of this revival. 

From a young age, junior Emily Zieg has always enjoyed sewing, but it wasn’t until recently that she discovered how she could put her skills to good use. What started as just a hobby soon became a growing business known as ScrunchEEZ, after she started making and selling the popular hair ties to friends and family members. 

“My grandmother taught me to sew in middle school,” Zieg said. “I have always loved to create things and thought that making these scrunchies would be really fun since I wear them almost every day. I never really thought of starting a business because I was just making them for myself, but then my sister gave me the idea to start selling them to people.”

However, starting this business didn’t come without skepticism. Zieg was hesitant at first because she wondered if they would do well, but that initial hesitation didn’t last long. The scrunchies she made started to gain attention on social media and since then, she has sold several of the small hair ties. For $2-$3 per scrunchie and the option of colorful and fun fabrics, these hair ties started to attract many buyers. Zieg can also take the fabric from old shirts and use those to craft the scrunchies per the buyer’s request and, due to their small size, the process isn’t very labor-intensive. She begins by taking a large strip of the chosen fabric and proceeds to sew it together. Zieg then turns the fabric inside out so it resembles the shape of a tube and inserts the elastic. She then finishes the scrunchie by bunching the fabric together and hand sewing the seam.

“When I first started making them they took me around 40 minutes per scrunchie to make,” Zieg said. “Now that I’ve made around 60 and have lots of experience, it usually only takes me about 20 minutes to make one.”

Throughout her business journey, Zieg has had the support of her close friends who pushed her towards starting ScrunchEEZ. Since Zieg is part of the Millard West Choir group, West in the Groove, she’s had a lot of her sales come from the other members. One of these people happens to be one of Zieg’s closest friends, junior Mae Kaleen, who has purchased several of the scrunchies and has even supplied some of the fabrics that Zeig uses to make them.

“I was really excited for Emily when she told me about her [business] idea,” Kaleen said. “I’ve seen a lot of other small pages on Instagram that were doing something really similar to what she wanted to do and doing really well with their businesses. I also think making the Instagram account was a big help for her because the app is so popular with teens, so it was easy for her to gain attention.” 

Aside from her friends, Zieg has also had the support of her family. Her parents were very interested to see what this business endeavor would bring for their young daughter.

“We were very excited that Emily wanted to start this business,” Zieg’s mother Melissa Zieg said. “We wanted her to give it a try and experience something new. We just knew that if she did she would definitely succeed.”

Though running this small business seems like an easy task, Zieg has had to learn along the way in order to keep ScrunchEEZ successful. In addition, she has also picked up a new set of skills that will help her with life after high school.

“Running this business has taught me a lot, I didn’t know much about,” Zieg said. “It’s taught me the basics of business and things that you have to think about when buying and selling. I’ve also learned how to use my money wisely and how to profit from what you spent in order to keep a business running.”

Zieg’s business will likely continue growing from here thanks to her business knowledge, eagerness to learn and dedication to the craft. All of Zieg’s scrunchies that are available for purchase, can be found on her Instagram page @scrunch_eez.

This story was originally published on The Catalyst on September 3, 2019.