Who said hair towels can't be a fun and stylish accessory? Founder of Lakeshore Dry Goods and creator of Sunrise Bliss™ towels, Pam Colby started this brand after reading a beauty tip which stated that a soft cotton t-shirt is the best thing to use to towel-dry hair. With this new found knowledge, she developed a towel that would help to reduce damages like hair frizz and breakage. These Sunrise Bliss™ towels are made from 100% GOTS-certified soft organic knit cotton made with low impact dyes. Read on to learn more about Pam and Lakeshore Dry Goods.
In order for our readers to know more about the woman behind Lakeshore Dry Goods, could you start by telling us about yourself and your background?
Hi! My name is Pam Colby. I’m 39, married to a great guy named Christian and we have two young sons. I grew up in Indiana and moved to northern Michigan permanently fourteen years ago. I currently work full-time leading a marketing department at a manufacturer in addition to running Lakeshore Dry Goods.
What is Lakeshore Dry Goods?
It’s a business I launched a year ago to sell a product I developed called Sunrise Bliss™ t-shirt hair towels made with organic cotton. We are located in a small coastal town in northern Michigan, so I picked a name that references our beautiful setting on Lake Michigan.
What inspired the title of your brand?
Coming up with Sunrise Bliss™ was a fun brainstorming session! I wanted a name that related to the morning since that’s when most people get ready plus a sunrise is so renewing and a beautiful start to the day. And I also wanted the brand name to capture the goodness of what our towel is all about, from the soft and gentle fabric to the benefits on your hair health to the organic aspect, so that’s how “bliss” came about. And together, Sunrise Bliss just sounds like something very pleasant you would want to add to your morning.
Your line of Sunrise Bliss t-shirt hair towels are made with 100% organic cotton designed to towel-dry hair without causing damage. Can you elaborate on the benefits of using this product on your hair and/or skin?
After reading the same beauty tip over and over again - that a soft cotton t-shirt is the best thing to use to towel-dry hair - I came up with the idea to make a medium-sized towel with t-shirt material. Terrycloth causes friction on your hair and can damage the hair shaft. The soft, smooth and absorbent knit cotton is gentle on your hair while reducing frizz, tangles, and breakage. Plus many customers have noticed it cuts down on dry time, too!
Also, some chemo patients dealing with skin sensitivity have found our soft t-shirt towel to be gentle on their skin vs a coarse terrycloth towel. Considering everything they’re going through, I’m happy our towels give them some relief while being treated.
Tell us about your design style. What makes your hair towels unique compare to other similar brands?
Most importantly, we only use GOTS-certified organic knit cotton made with low impact dyes. I love that our towels are not only good for your hair, but they’re good for the environment and the people who made the fabric and the towels.
The towel itself is a simple rectangle design, so there’s nothing complicated about it like other hair wraps you see out there.I remember trying to figure out how to wear complicated baby carriers and found it so frustrating.With our towels, sized between a hand towel and bath towel, you just wrap your hair as you would with your regular bath towel. But instead of having an oversized, heavy towel on your head, it’s a lightweight, gentle towel that actually stays in place and doesn’t pull on your hair.
I change up every production run with different prints and colors to make them fresh and fun! Picking out the prints and colors is definitely my favorite part of running Lakeshore Dry Goods.
Photo Credit: www.lakeshoredrygoods.com (Aqua Blue Organic Cotton T-shirt Hair Towel)
Talk us through the process of creating one of your designs. What’s the procedure like?
Luckily, I found Detroit Sewn, a cut and sew manufacturer that embraces working with beginners like me. I had the business background but sewing and designing was all new to me. It certainly helped that my product idea was a fairly simple concept but we still had to work through a couple of production runs to find the right kind of corner and seam. It was actually a happy accident that I ended up with two different towel sizes but it seems to fit the needs of my customers with various hair lengths and routines (such as just blotting & squeezing vs wrapping hair up and tying the towel for an extended amount of time).
Lead time from beginning to end of a production run is about eight weeks. First, I review the current and upcoming offerings of my organic fabric sources and order swatches of my favorite prints and colors; it really makes a difference to see and feel the fabric compared to just viewing it on a computer screen. Sunrise Bliss t-shirt hair towels are made with interlock knit cotton, which is used for high-end t-shirts, has a very smooth surface, and doesn’t stretch out of shape. I seek opinions from family members and girlfriends of all ages to help make the final selection; this helps me broaden my personal taste in order to suit a wider range of tastes. Then I work with my cut and sew manufacturer with details of the production run, such as timing on when they can expect all of the materials. When I receive the finished towels, I conduct a thorough quality inspection and package the towels myself. Next, is getting professional photos of the new towels taken and then we can post the new towel listings!
In what ways has your upbringing and past work experiences influenced where you are now?
My parents were both great role models growing up. I observed them balance successful careers while still making quality time for my sister and me.
In high school and college, I always enjoyed my business, accounting, and marketing classes. I have years of work experience in customer service, event planning, hotel management, and sales. It’s pretty satisfying to now be putting my skills to use for my very own product and business plan.
Why is running an ethical and eco-friendly brand important to you?
I always try to make conscious buying decisions in my own life and do my part of leaving less of a carbon footprint on our planet. Also, there’s such an emphasis on organic food and not as much on other organic products, such as textiles, cleaning products, and beauty products. So, I’m trying to build awareness through my social media and blog posts about choosing organic for a variety of items.
I love that the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification means every part of the supply chain was inspected, so not only did the cotton grow on an organic farm, but the handlers and factory workers were treated ethically, too. Plus it all leads to a better quality product in the end.
That’s always a work in progress! Of course my family comes first and since becoming parents, my husband and I have been fortunate enough to pull off weekend getaways just the two of us a couple times a year.
Lakeshore Dry Goods has given me an opportunity to put all of my skills together for my own good and it turned out to be a great creative outlet too. From selecting the prints to photographing the towels to posting on social media. Plus, it’s been fun to collaborate with my husband on the business (he handles order fulfillment, shipping, and accounting) while benefiting the future of our family’s well-being.
And last but not least, I carve out some time for myself too, whether it’s a yoga class, morning walk, an outing with girlfriends. With a house full of boys, I need my girl time!
What do you think is the most significant obstacle to women’s leadership in the entrepreneurial world in 2017?
Focusing on what’s truly important, and doing those things well, instead of spreading yourself thin.
What's next? What's your vision for the future of Lakeshore Dry Goods?
We are excited about our first holiday season! Sunrise Bliss™ towels make such great gifts and they will be featured in some holiday gift guides.
We hope to continue to build momentum with brand awareness and sales growth while informing our customers and followers about the benefits of using our t-shirt hair towels and the importance of choosing organic.
One of my main goals of 2018 is to establish our “Sunrise Bliss Cares” line of t-shirt towels. A portion of proceeds of designated towel prints would be donated to non-profit organizations as outlined below:
Explore: A travel-inspired towel print would go towards the national parks or an environmental protection organization.
Fresh: A print with fruit or the color green would be tied to an organic farming initiative.
Heal: A cancer organization would benefit from sales of a third towel print.
Do you ship worldwide? Where can we purchase your Sunrise Bliss T-shirt hair towels?
We are based in Michigan and have recently expanded shipping outside of the U.S. In addition to our home country, we are currently shipping to Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
Thank you for this opportunity to share our story!
To connect with Lakeshore Dry Goods:
Facebook: Lakeshore Dry Goods
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