Dying for Dollars

allison harwood, reporter

Like most high school sophomores, Hannah Markley hasn’t been to business school. Yet her passion for volunteering inspired her to become a young entrepreneur.
 
To raise money for three mission trips this summer, sophomore Hannah Markley has started her own tie dye t-shirt business…with a little help from her mom.
 
“After I signed up for the trips last year my parents told me they didn’t know how they were going to pay for it. This year I figured I’d just have to do it on my own.”
The idea started with just one shirt.
 
“I did one shirt just randomly one day and a lot of people commented on it and told me that I should do more.”
 
The business idea came one day when she was visiting her sister in Nebraska. Her older sister told her that if people liked her designs, she could really go somewhere with it.
 
“On the way home from Nebraska I started writing down ideas and different things I could do, and by the time I got home I had a good outline for a business,” Markley said.
 
Her family has been supportive of the business run out of their home. Her mom has driven her to get supplies to make the shirts.
 
However, her parents did have a few reservations at first.
 
“I was was worried about the time constraint,” her mother Rebecca Markley said. “With band, choir, StuCo, youth group and school I was afraid it would take up too much time. So far though, it hasn’t been a problem”
 
“I’m jealous, I think it’s awesome,” her younger brother Drew Markley said.
 
All the designs are original creations. She uses bleach and various dye products and gets creative. Some of her shirts are even recycled. The rest are ordered in bulk from New Jersey.
 
“I don’t have a plan B. I already have $500 dollars in orders, so I still have a ways to go, but I’m doing pretty good.”
 
Markley isn’t discouraged about the $900 dollars she has to raise. With 60 orders already in, some from as far as Tennessee and Kentucky, things seem to be moving along smoothly. The total cost of a shirt is $14 dollars, ten of it goes to her trips and and four towards the supplies. 
 
Not going on the trips isn’t an option for Markley.
 
“Mission trips are my passion. I figured I might as well put some work into what will end up being my whole summer. If I work a few months now, then I can have so much fun this summer.”
 
She hopes to go to a retreat in Tennessee, volunteer in St. Louis and, most of all, work at Camp Barnabas. 
 
“I’m going to spend three or four weeks at Camp Barnabas, a camp for mentally and physically disabled children and adults. I love the kids there; it’s my passion.”
 
The retreat happens in February. Kids from all over the country will be there. The volunteer work takes place in intercity St. Louis. She will help with construction and work with the kids in the area.
 
Markley makes ordering her shirts easy. All you have to do is give her your name and what you want. She’s even willing to negotiate if someone can’t meet the full $14 dollars.
 
“Some of these shirts aren’t really $14 dollar-quality work. The main thing you have to remember is that it’s donations.”