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Life & Work with Jackie Ayres

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jackie Ayres. 

Hi Jackie, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
Dyetology started as a creative outlet from my corporate design job. At the time I had been designing for big brands for 17 years and was looking for something creative just for me. Something totally different than what I was working on in my corporate job. So, I pulled out my surface design books from college and just started making. I have always loved color and working with my hands, so hand-dyeing was a natural fit. 

I didn’t intend to start a business, it just happened organically as I started dyeing and making pieces. I started slow, selling to friends, family, and co-workers. Then I did a few in-person art shows and my first online presence was on Etsy. I eventually left my full-time corporate job and went all in on Dyetology! 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Being a small business owner and solopreneur does have its challenges! Small business owners have to learn how to do all aspects of their business and be all things to everyone. For me, that means I am the owner, designer, maker, marketer, bookkeeper, business manager, social media person, etc., etc! 

I had back surgery in 2019 which meant I couldn’t bend, twist, or lift anything over a few pounds for months which really impacted my business as part of my dyeing process I am using 20-40 lbs. of ice at one time and lifting 5-gallon buckets of water from my dye tables. 

As we all know the pandemic has affected all of us and all aspects of our life and business! I feel blessed to be on this side of the pandemic however my business is still being affected by other current life issues like rising inflation and talks of a recession…all these things affect people’s spending habits. 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Dyetology is a line of women’s hand-dyed apparel and accessories made from premium natural fibers. When I started Dyetology, I wanted it to stand apart from mass-market clothing. Each piece is made individually which means no two pieces are the same! Natural fibers are strong, durable, soft- you can feel the difference! The most common thing I hear when doing in-person art shows is “It’s so soft!!! It feels so good!”. I want each woman who puts on a piece of Dyetology to feel loved, special, unique, and comfortable. Comfort is a huge part of Dyetology. If the fit or fabric doesn’t feel right on, then it doesn’t make it into the line. 

I am very proud of the mission program I have started through Dyetology with our socks. The program is called “Socks for Hope” and for every pair of socks a customer buys, we donate a pair to a local homeless shelter. When I learned socks are the most needed clothing item at shelters (used socks can’t be donated, many homeless do not have regular access to launder their clothes, and many are transient, and walking is their main form of transportation) I knew I could do something as I was already selling socks. And I have to say our bamboo socks are the softest socks you will wear! To date, we have donated close to 2 thousand pairs of socks. 

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Image Credits

Kellie Bieser

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