SMALL BUSINESS CATEGORY -- True
Color Fabric Dyeing
P.O. Box 656
Ben Lomond, CA 95005
or service: Dyes old garments to look like new, reducing waste that would
end up in the landfill.
Update 2003: Since the story below
was written, True Color Fabric Dyeing moved to a new location in downtown
Santa Cruz, but eventually closed the storefront in order to keep costs
down. Business is conducted mostly by phone and UPS. While the ordering
process is too individual for online ordering, the web site provides
information about the dyeing process and attracts new customers
nationwide. Santa Cruz County customers still get in person service by
True Color Fabric Dyeing is
now a six-year-old business that "revives" old garments by dyeing them to look
like new, reducing waste that would otherwise end up in the landfill.
Items in good repair with fade, spots or the wrong color can be made
serviceable again. The potential impact of saving clothing and fabric from
the landfill is as large as that of plastics - an estimated 75,000 tons
Fabric dyeing saves businesses money by reducing the
costs of buying new replacements for things such as uniforms and
tablecloths. Simultaneously, fabric dyeing also makes optimal use of
Environmental Stewardship is a daily act at
True Color. A serviceable textile item can be dyed many times to look
fresh again and again. Recycled fabrics need to be broken down and then
rewoven at great energy and cost. True Color buys supplies in bulk,
concentrated, refillable, and unwrapped. Most office furniture in the
studio has had a "past life" … tables, racks, chairs, shelves - even the
door frame. The entire building was recently painted with recycled
The True Color studio is conveniently located in the Soquel
Village, with provisions for alternative transportation shown on the
brochure -- Metro Bus numbers, free public parking and close freeway
exits. Bicycles are always welcome, too!
True Color has grown to a
list of over 1000 clients nationwide, mostly through referrals and hope to
expand their customer base in the years to come. When asked what project
she would like to accomplish next, Sherry Smilo (owner) said that she
would like to re-dye all Cal Trans uniforms bright orange.
year of this award (1998), True Color had grown substantially through computerization of
all business operations and staff expansion. A core
value at True Color is social responsibility, hiring people who may
otherwise not be easily employable and through supporting fundraising
events by donating services. Goodwill's "Dress for Success" annual fashion
show features some of True Colors' masterpieces.
True Color Fabric
Dyeing provides a unique service. True Color dyes clothing, soft
furnishings and other textiles for businesses and individuals. Items in
good repair with fade, spots or the wrong color can be made serviceable
True Color is a nine-year-old business that was purchased in
year three. The purchase included a hand-written mailing list of 200 local
names. With a list of more than 1,000 client, business continues to grow
mostly from referrals. Clients are of
all income and professional levels who want to save money and have
Working closely with the professional Dyemasters at the
Commercial Dyehouse has increased color consistency. Dyemasters have years
of experience in the science and art of fabric content and color matching.
They go along with the owner's "kooky experiments" -- tennis shoes, shoe laces, and
teddy bears. They patiently answer all questions. However, when asked to dye a bag of sheep wool, they laughed hysterically!
bought True Color from a woman who ran it part-time off her back porch. At
first she ran the business from her home and in her car. True Color now has a
permanent location. True Color is also finally in the
Yellow Pages under "Fabric" and "Dry Cleaners." The Yellow Pages listings
and colorful sign facing the street have increased business.
paper waste, time wasted and increased accuracy. Clients are listed by name,
date and color choices. Receipts will be neat and clear, not hand written.
All bookkeeping and correspondence will be stored in the computer. Further
goals included one or two part-time permanent employees to decrease cycle
time from drops off to pick up of the finished job.
A core value of True Color practices social
responsibility in local matters. Ironing is done by an otherwise unemployable mentally ill neighbor. A struggling musician vacuums the
studio and cleans the windows. A handicapped client is met in the parking
lot. True Color donates dyeing serves for fundraising events. In 1998, I
hope to work with Goodwill Industries for their annual fashion show. I
have also taken on "the dirty bathroom problem." For $10.00 per month,
from the neighbor business, the bathroom is sanitized and restocked on a
Human relations are based on the Nordstrom
Attitude, "Be Nice." It is actually easier to be thoughtful of others than
to be a grouch. I believe this attitude has served me well due to the
volume of repeat and referral business. Professional friendly
relationships keep me in touch with clients and suppliers.
Board of Director for True Color includes Sherri Dad, Sid Smilo, My Uncle
Barney, Aunt Reni and Cousin Bettina Smilo. The Cheerleading Squad
includes (in alphabetical order), Barbara, Dennis, Faye and Tom, Jan,
Jenny, Leslie, Lisa and Phil, Lorayn, and Pam and Rick. These
distinguished group has provided information about Advertising,
Bookkeeping, Business Strategy, Brochure Presentation, Color and Fabric
Name and Selection, Shipping and Receiving, Invoicing and Customer
Relations. At True Color there is never a shortage of free advice.
III. Environmental Stewardship
Stewardship is a daily act at True Color. Fabric dyeing is recycling but
it is also pre-cycling. A serviceable textile item can be dyed many times
to look fresh again and again. Recycled fabrics need to be broken down and
then rewoven at great energy and cost. Fiscally correct, and fun, fabrics
dyeing make best uses of what we have right now. Voluntary Simplicity does
not mean boring! Hand-me-downs, towels, throw rugs, uniforms and
slipcovers look great in cheerful, modern colors.
Goal was to
increase commerce with other industries. Uniforms for schools and work can
be dyed. Hotel bed liners, curtains and towels can be dyed. Roadworkers
can dye their T-shirts, jumpsuits and vests to safety orange to increase
visibility and thus safety. A jail in New Mexico dyes the inmates'
underwear and T-shirts pink! Why? It seems to calm down the inmates and
also reduces theft!
On every level of business transactions the
owner thinks to herself, "Do I really need this? Can I get it used, by trade, can I
share, rent or borrow the item? Can I repair the old one?" Supplies are
bought in bulk, concentrated, refillable and unwrapped.
The Soquel Village studio location shows Metro Bus numbers, free public parking and close freeway exits. Bicycles are always
Most furniture in the studio has a "past life". This includes shelves, racks,
tables, chairs, couch and even the doorframe.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT TRUE COLOR FABRIC DYEING:
Visit online: http://www.fabricdyeing.com/
Or write to: True
Color Fabric Dyeing, P.O. Box 656, Ben Lomond, CA 95005