Amid a challenging time for many people, entrepreneurs from Lynbrook and East Rockaway are using their new businesses to help give back to the community.
Marion Schwaner, 26, of Lynbrook, said she was working in public relations when the coronavirus pandemic hit and she was unexpectedly laid off. She decided to then launch her own business, To Tie-Dye for Clothing, through which she started producing masks and other clothing items. Skylar Blake, 22, of East Rockaway, is a nursing student at New York University and also recently started her business, Beadazzled by Sky, through which she makes beaded chains for masks and sunglasses.
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Schwaner and Blake partnered to create pink tie-dye facemasks with beaded mask chain lanyards. They sold them for $35 for an adult and $25 for a child, and $5 from every purchase was donated to the Maurer Foundation, a Melville-based nonprofit that focuses on breast cancer education by promoting prevention, healthy lifestyle choices, early detection and risk reduction.
“It’s a great way to give back to the community,” Schwaner said. “You always want to give back, especially during this time. For people who have breast cancer or were recently diagnosed, it’s probably really hard for them to receive treatment during Covid, so we’re just trying to support them as much as we can.”
Schwaner started her business in the early summer and began making tie-dye facemasks. She then began branching out and now creates many items, including bathing suits, baby onesies, sweatshirts, shorts, T-shirts, clothing for pets and more. She also produces masks with themes such as breast cancer awareness, Halloween and school logos. Schwaner and Blake conduct all of their business through social media, and accept orders through Instagram and Facebook, and payment via money transferring apps like Venmo.
The two have taken part in several fundraisers, and their businesses have had plenty of success in their first few months of existence. Schwaner noted that she has more than 1,400 followers on Instagram, and she plans to attend a vendor fair at the Massapequa Elks Lodge on Nov. 14 to continue to raise awareness about her business.
Schwaner said she invested in a couple of machines to help create the items out of vinyl, and noted that while her friends and her mother pitch in to help, she mostly works alone to produce the items.
“It’s nice to do what you love,” she said, “and show your passion through your work.”