Posted: December 20, 2013 Local business owner moves fast to open, and franchise
Fun Dye Factory owner Bobbi Potter said the idea for a local tie dye shop came to her on June 12. Four short months later, she opened the doors to the Fun Dye Factory on Oct. 4.
The idea, Potter said, came to her from a TV show in which a surrogate mother and adoptive mother bond over tie dying clothing for the baby.
"I thought, 'you know, it would be really cool if there was a place (here) to do that," Potter said.
From there, her start-up idea moved fairly quickly, but with the help from a lot of people, Potter said. Her sister, a realtor, started to help look for a location. Ultimately, she chose the 311 E. Madison St. site because of the "buildup that's happening, and the cultural feel of downtown," Potter said. A brother in-law acted as a handy-man as well, she said. Because she also works as a full time manager of a dental clinic, the extra help was especially appreciated, Potter said.
"Without them I would never have been able to do it," she said. "I had to have people who were really supportive and were going to help me a lot in order to do it."
Managing the dental office definitely prepared her for opening her own store, she said. But managing the two at the same time is a challenge. She puts in her time at the Fun Dye Factory at night and during the weekends, which is prime time for the birthday parties and other packages the shop offers.
"I have to manage my time a lot to get it all in there and get everything done, but I managed the business and ran the business for the dental office, so I knew that part of it," Potter said. "But, I also knew that I could hire people that were creative to help me with that piece, so that's what I've been fortunate enough to do."
Fun Dye Factory offers a variety of party packages for tie dyers, Potter said. In addition to birthday parties, she said they also offers date night packages, which include two tickets to the Downtown Cinema and a gift certificate for drinks at Tempo Café. She said collaboration plays an important role. "It makes it easier when you have a strong network of people."
They offer a sports package as well, where team members can dye a shirt and have their name and number heat pressed on.
After having her shop open only about two months, Potter said she is already looking toward larger efforts.
"The next step looks like it's going to be the Mall of America," Potter said. "The mall just has Build-a-Bear and then they also have a bead shop, but other than that, they don't have anything else that's really interactive like we have here."
The Mall of America has over 40 million annual visitors. After a few more months of making sure the kinks are worked out at the Eau Claire shop, Potter said working on details for the MOA store is the next step. She said she hopes to open that location sometime next summer.