Scottish mum turns lockdown business with kids into full-time job and starts her own business


A Scottish mum has turned her life around after turning a confinement activity with children into a business venture.

When the world was at a standstill, Sophie Pollok got into dyeing with her two children, six-year-old Emily and two-year-old Ruby.

The 37-year-old commissioned ordered a kit for creative family fun before the mother-of-two fell in love with art.

Sophie, from Barnton, Edinburgh, was made redundant in 2015 so decided to devote her time to raising her children.

The Edinburgh entrepreneur has since sold her clothes on the Ocean Terminal market after setting up That tie dye place, and is looking to grow her brand online.

Mom Sophie and her daughters Ruby and Emily.

At first, she told Edinburgh Live: “In my previous life – before the children – I worked in the gas industry in various roles, most recently a manager planning the replacement of gas mains in the streets.

“When my eldest was three months old, I was fired.

“We decided at that time that it would be easier if I stayed home with the baby rather than starting to apply again two months after giving birth.

“It’s my job as a full-time amateur. I’m just starting to make a decent income from it, and luckily it’s thanks to me that I’m starting to advertise online properly and the markets are now restarting after covid, thank goodness!

“But in the summer of 2020, like everyone else, we started doing everything we could to spend time with our five-month-old and four-year-olds.

“We got a cheap tie-dye kit and surprisingly had a great time doing it, myself more than the kids.

“I was surprised as I had never been particularly arty but I loved the bright colors and the distraction of everything going on during the pandemic.

“After that, I watched a million YouTube videos, joined a few groups on Facebook, and started practicing more complex pleats. I bought some Dylon dye and took it from there.

“Now I’m part of a lovely little online network of dyers across the country, from me here in Edinburgh to a great friend I made online on the Isle of Wight who shares tips, tricks and processes.”

This dyeing place at Ocean Terminal.
This dyeing place at Ocean Terminal.

Sophie orders her tincture directly from the US and has just signed up to be a regular star at the Ocean Terminal market following her success at the Davidson Mains and Conifox markets last Christmas.

Juggling the business and being a mum, she said: ‘Everything is tricky as a mum, but luckily I managed to find the time to do it.

“I find what I do in life, I do it to the extreme.

“So, for example, today I dyed eight clothes that I’m going to rinse mid-week.

“I also do one tincture a day on top of that.

“My kids are so into it which helps, Ruby can spiral brilliantly and Emily loves doing the pits with me. They are both so supportive.

“The pandemic restrictions hit me pretty hard mentally and I just preferred to stay when all the shit was going on.

“Now that things are opening up, I’m thrilled to be out there in the markets chatting with people and hearing the lovely compliments on the things I spent so much time planning and dyeing.

“It’s definitely a profession where it’s better to see the pieces in person rather than online. Especially outside when the sun catches them!

“I had fun and learned a lot over the past 12 months. I’ve created an inventory of some really great pieces that will hold their colors for decades and I’m still learning every day what works and what kind of things people are looking to buy.

The family having fun at Easter.
The family having fun at Easter.

The creative mom sells a mix of items such as t-shirts, hoodies, jeans, denim jackets, bags, shorts, leggings and even underwear for burlesque performers.

She says “if it’s white and cotton, I’ll try to dye it”.

Prices can range from £1.50 for socks to £50 for hoodies/jackets and everything in between.

On her advice to all budding entrepreneurs, she said, “Do something you love, don’t put a ton of money into it to start, and don’t pay anyone out of your profits.

“Creative classes for kids are big now and people like to buy handmade things as well as shop locally these days.

“I’ve found that selling my stuff for much less than before means I’m selling more.

“Colors make people happy and everyone needs them, so find a business that solves a problem, makes people smile, and is affordable.

“I’m very lucky to have such a supportive family and husband who allow me to create and sell my stock on the stalls.

“I’m really enjoying doing the pits at the moment.

“It’s hard to say what I want in five years because my kids will be much older by then and doing their own thing, so maybe I’ll find I have more free time than I have now. .

“I just want to bring in enough money to make it worth the time spent away from my daughters and that will satisfy me.”

This dye spot is available on Facebook and Instagram and will be at the Ocean Terminal Market in May and June.

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