At first sight, Daisy May seems like your average college student. But what you may not know is that she is a force to be reckoned with. Running two businesses centered around upcycling, on top of a full course load, May is continuously on the move. She sat down with PATTERN to share her big ideas about sustainability, the future of Rebloomed and how she manages it all so successfully.
Allie Coppedge: To start off, what is Rebloomed? What do you make?
Daisy May: I started Rebloomed at the beginning of 2017, right before I was set to graduate high school. The initial reason I started it was because my friends were going to different colleges and didn’t want to wear boring t-shirts so I altered the items for them. I didn’t originally have a set name for what I was doing. I knew I wanted to start repurposing college t-shirts but I started off with the name ‘Secondhand Fiend.’ My dad thought that sounded gross so then ‘Rebloomed’ came around. My name’s Daisy, I’m reblooming clothes, it fit perfectly.
AC: How do you sell your items?
DM: Just this past May, I had my first in-person sale and it went really well and I sold out within
the first hour. I did not expect that at all for my first sale. Before that, I’d been just using Instagram. I would post on my story to let people know what time I’d be posting items. I still continue to do Instagram sales, but I really liked in person sales, so I’ll continue to have more of those in the future.
AC: Sustainability is a big buzz word in fashion right now, especially with the whole idea of repurposing old garments and shopping secondhand. Was that something on your mind at the time when you started this?
DM: No it wasn’t. I’ve always shopped at second hand stores, but originally it was because it was cheaper and I could find more original things. When I was younger, I didn’t have a ton of money to spend. So over time, I met some really cool people on the way to help me make more supply and it’s worked out really well over the past year. I know a lot of people who do thrifting here in Indianapolis and since I don’t have a lot of time to go out and thrift like I used to, I have my buyers, as I call them. They go and find items at Goodwill, Salvation Army, Opportunity House in Bloomington, or other small thrift shops that pop up. They find the vintage and used IU apparel and I buy it from them at a higher price.
AC: You go to Indiana University, but when you first got there, what did it take to promote and market your business to the IU community?
DM: I played around on Instagram’s algorithm a lot in the beginning, running promotions on there and also never saying no to an interview. That has given me a lot of publicity, along with speaking out about what I do. Self-promotion has probably been my biggest promotion. Also being engaged with my followers, responding to them, guaranteeing great customer experiences helps. Every little detail is thought out, from including notes in my packages down to the tags on the clothing with my motto on them. Everything, to me, has meaning, and that translates to my customers. Because of that, I have a lot of return customers.
AC: With your first sale then, did you promote it any other way besides on Instagram?
DM: It was all Instagram and word-of-mouth.
AC: You’ve been at this for a couple of years now, so over time have you seen Rebloomed evolve, or even get better?
DM: Without a doubt. Going to school for fashion design, I’ve learned so many technical skills that have helped the quality of the product skyrocket. For example, I use an iron now and before I didn’t iron a single thing that I sold. The quality of my machines has also elevated. I started with a Singer sewing machine from the 1920’s that came out of a desk that basically just did a straight line and that’s all I needed at the time. But as I started to need more things, I’ve grown and learned and Rebloomed has gotten better. Even courses not directly related to fashion design, like a graphic design course I took, helped me create a better logo. All around helping the business to get better.
AC: You’re talking about all of these skills you learned, so are there any professors that have really helped you out since getting to IU?
DM: I’ve got two professors that I work with on a daily basis. I would say all of the professors in my department are as helpful as can be. They haven’t helped me personally with Rebloomed but their support itself is helpful. They keep me going with all of my school projects.
AC: Has anything come of Rebloomed that you weren’t expecting?
DM: I’m always amazed at the connections that I’ve made. For instance, that first sale that I had out of my living room, I couldn’t believe that there was a line of people wrapped around my house. People were there for things that I had made, that put me in awe.
AC: Going back for a minute, when did you start sewing? Did you teach yourself?
DM: I’ve been designing since I was four years old. I had a collection of those Project Runway DIY kits with small mannequins to wrap clothes around but I didn’t learn how to sew until Home Ec class in sixth grade. Then I didn’t do it again until my senior year [of high school] though, when my dad bought me a Singer sewing machine. My dad was then the one to teach me how to sew and the techniques. It’s weird because my mom is a costume designer, but my dad is the one who taught me. Fashion design has been my path my entire life, even though I stopped and started back up every five-ish years. Then I finally realized this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
AC: This is your current hustle while you’re at IU. What about the future? Do you see Rebloomed evolving or do you have entirely different plans?
DM: I’ve been thinking a lot about that and honestly, I don’t know. In my Daisy dream world, I want to go into an existing business that isn’t already sustainable and reinvent it and make it more sustainable. That’s my goal after college, but I honestly think I can be doing Rebloomed for the rest of my life. If I’m doing it on the side now, during one of the busiest times of my life, why not continue to do it after I graduate as a side hustle? I love interacting with my customers and I don’t want to quit that. It will evolve as I evolve.