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Ballard High senior turns boredom into a clothing brand

She took leftover bandanas and started a business.

SEATTLE —
When Ballard High School student Ruby Pope first dreamed about her senior year, spending it behind a sewing machine was not what she had in mind. But thanks to boredom and some leftover bandanas, there's no place she'd rather be.

"One day I literally just started cutting out squares of that and just patching it on to pants. I went down to our Bartells and got a needle and thread and I just was hand stitching away," said Ruby.

She stitched the bandanas to hoodies and sweatpants to create comfortable urban streetwear.

"I really liked how they came out. And I got some feedback from my friends. And they really liked it too."

What started with boredom quickly turned into a business she calls, Ruby Laine Apparel.

"I didn't know if it was going to take off. Or it was going to just, you know, be a little friend thing where I would just, you know, make stuff in my room and sell to my friends."

With help from her mom, Ruby had a website made and orders quickly came in.

"Mostly people in Seattle, but I have seen it go out of state. People buying from out of state and stuff like that. It's really cool to see that."

It's also cool for Ruby to meet her customers at pop-up sales like in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood.

"These pop-ups that I've been having are an amazing way to meet new people and kind of connect with them on a personal level and get to know my customers."

Ruby has gotten so many orders she had to hire out for help.

"I make as much as I can. But with keeping up with product demand and everything, it's a little hard for me to make them all by myself. It's a lot of work.

"I think some people think that my stuff is like printed on. And so when they see it in person they can see the quality, they can see the handmade-ness of my brand. And I think that's really cool."

Her senior year may not have gone as planned, but Ruby Pope is designing herself a bright future.

"I think there's a lot more growing to do for this business. So and a lot more learning as well."

One of her latest creations is helping local music venues. Ruby Laine Apparel and RealMerch have announced a collaborative collection of limited-edition hoodies to benefit Keep Music Alive Washington. 50% of the proceeds will go to help local music venues survive the pandemic.

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