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Teen puts artistic talents into own tie-dye business

Feb 6, 2014 - By Kelli Ameling, Staff Writer

Most children, when they want money for something like a video game, will do extra chores, mow lawns or open a lemonade stand on the front yard.

A 9-year-old from Lander decided to start a whole business --a tie-dyeing apparel company called Curl Up and Dye.

Young artist

For as long as he can remember, Ely Miller, now 13, has thought of ways to make a little extra money.

"I wanted to make money of my own instead of borrowing from someone and having to pay them back later," Miller said.

At 15 months, his mother, Terri Miller, said she put a paintbrush in his hand and he would paint pictures.

"We are an artistic household," she said.

As he got older, she said her son wanted to purchase a GameBoy. So she suggested he participate in an art show.

He framed art pieces, made cards and sold enough items during the show to purchase the device on the way home.

About four years ago, a friend of the family suggested Ely Miller take his talents to the next level and try something new.

"I agreed to support him for one year," Terri Miller said. "It was a great way for him to learn you have to put money out in order to get it back. It was hard for him at first (to understand that)."

In 2010, he started Curl Up and Dye.

Curl Up and Dye

For Curl Up and Dye, Ely Miller does designs on clothing, from socks to shirts, and for everyone from babies to adults.

He special orders clothing items and dyes from companies and makes up his own designs while also using traditional patterns.

"The spiral design is my favorite," Ely Miller said. "Tye-dying was becoming extinct, and I wanted to bring it back."

He said he is able to make a batch of 10 to 20 items in about four days.

One of his favorite pieces he made last year was a heart design, and said he particularly likes to create designs on T-shirts because there is more room to create.

All of his creations are made out of his home and mostly sold at his mom's shop at Dashboard Hula's Salon, 550 Main St. in Lander.

However, he does showcase his tie-dyed apparel at art shows too.

Since starting Curl Up and Dye four years ago, Ely Miller has started putting some of his profits into a savings account.

"Opening a business has taught me how to do business along with where to put money," Ely Miller said. "I can start saving for things like retirement."

This is a business he hopes to continue at least through high school if he can maintain a healthy balance down between school, sports, the business and free time.

Ely Miller does accept custom orders, and people interested in ordering or purchasing items from Curl Up and Dye can do so by visiting Dashboard Hula's Salon or by calling 349-5912.

"This is pretty fantastic," Terri Miller said of her young son starting a business. "As parents, we aspire for our children to have a better life than we had and he has done that already --he is the coolest kid I know."

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