Masks are a necessary accessory these days, but they also provide a unique opportunity for wearers to express themselves.
Bay Middle School student Ainsley Scheid is taking that one step further with her new tie-dye mask business, Dye for Days. With psychedelic masks made of blues, reds, yellows and greens, she hopes to raise money for Breath of Life Haiti, a nonprofit focused on helping women and children in Haiti.
“I got the idea to help when I saw a postcard with a hungry child from Haiti on it,” Ainsley, 11, said. “I knew I could make a difference with my business and decided to help.”
The postcard depicted a malnourished 7-year-old who weighed 21 pounds. Ainsley thought of her healthy brother Arlo, the same age as the boy on the postcard, and started raising money earlier this month. Her goal is to raise $250 by October.
Haiti is considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere by the World Bank. The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and grants to the governments of poorer countries to pursue capital projects. The country also has the highest rate of infant mortality in the Western Hemisphere, according to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities.
Dye for Days offers masks that vary in child and adult sizes and sell for $10 each or $25 for three. Ainsley has made 100 masks and has sold 20 at Bay High School and Bradley Park during the evenings on weekdays and the afternoon on weekends. Information about when and where she sells her masks is posted on Facebook by her mother, Lori Scheid.
Ainsley got the idea to create the company in July while playing a video game on her mother’s iPad called Tie-Dye. After her parents lent her $200 for materials, she got to work.
“I love tie-dying and people need masks because of the pandemic. I just thought it would be a cool idea to take something I liked and see what I could do with it,” she said.
The process to make the masks, while simple, can be time consuming. First, Ainsley washes and then bundles them individually to apply color. After they sit for 24 hours, she washes them again and then puts them in vinegar to soak, which locks the colors in place.
This isn’t the first time Ainsley has raised money for a charitable cause. In August, she sold 130 masks and donated $356 to the Friendship Animal Protective League in Elyria.
“Because of the pandemic, it’s been hard for organizations like the APL to buy food and other things they need to take care of their animals,” she said.”I wanted to help them do that.”
While she loves knowing that the money she’s raising is going to a good cause, there are other perks to running her business. Her favorite part about selling masks is seeing other people wear them in public.
Ainsley learned how to tie-dye through a camp created by her mother and other local moms in Bay Village called Camp 24. There, campers learn about different forms of art including photography.
However, Ainsley didn’t develop her business chops on her own. Growing up, she was surrounded by a graphic design business and open house staging business her mother runs at home. Since helping Ainsley create the business, Scheid says it’s taken a life of its own.
“I jokingly say that I work for Ainsley now,” she said. “She’s always had that entrepreneurial spirit and this business has really taken off because of that.”
When she’s not running her business, Ainsley likes to spend her time in the kitchen, where she makes brownies and cheesecake. She also likes to hang out with her friends and play with her dog, Wilco.
Ainsley hopes that through her business, she can make wearing masks an enjoyable experience.
“People need masks. I know I think at times they’re annoying to wear so I wanted to make them more fun for people by tie-dying them,” she said.
Contact this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216-307-6614.