Small business owner takes tie-dye from hippie to hillbilly
WESTVILLE – B.J. Latta, is the owner of the Hillbilly Fabulous Tie-Dye Company out of Westville. His company started somewhat accidentally when he and his family decided to purchase a tie-dye kit to make shirts as a family activity.
“When they rinsed out I was really disappointed. I was like, man I’ve worn tie-dye my whole life. It isn’t supposed to look like this, it’s supposed to look bright,” he said.
The Cherokee Nation citizen decided to try again and began to use Facebook groups and Google to figure out techniques and tips. He began to realize that he greatly enjoyed the artistic outlet that tie-dye gave him.
“I like it because its relaxing,” he said. “It’s something that I can do and my mind is clear. I can do it with my hands, and I’m not stressing or worrying about my kids or my job or what’s going on in the world. Really, I just like to do it for the artistic side.”
As Latta’s tie-dye work improved, people started to take notice and began to inquire about purchasing his tie-dyed shirts. At first, he just made shirts and sold them to friends but then decided to start making them for other customers. He regularly makes big tapestries and shirts but also makes tie-dyed quilt tops, socks, handbags, overalls, blue jean shorts and blue jean jackets, just to name a few items.
“I do a real different tie-dye technique,” he said. “It’s not different in the tie-dye world but from normal tie-dye. I don’t use liquid I use powder, and then I put ice on the top of my powder and as the ice melts it pushes the dye into the fabric.”
Latta said he’s enjoyed being able to share his art with so many people. He said he often finds himself selling three T-shirts and then giving three T-shirts away.
“That’s what art is, some art you sell and some art you bless people with,” he said.
Purchases can be made at Hillbilly Fabulous Tie-Dye Company on Facebook.
Latta attributes his passion of art and working with his hands to his Cherokee heritage. “If you ever go to a powwow you realize that Native Americans are very colorful people. We have ribbon shirts that are all kinds of designs and ribbons. So, we’ve always been a creative people. We’re colorful and we show that through the clothes we wear.”
You can contact Latta on Facebook at Hillbilly Fabulous Tie-Dye Company.