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Life & Work with Andrea Carneiro

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrea Carneiro.

Hi Andrea, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I am definitely an accidental entrepreneur. I was a magazine writer and editor for 20 years and never expected to make a career pivot. In early 2019, I was shopping (at Saks Brickell City Center!) and noticed tie-dye creeping onto the racks. I texted a picture of a tee to a friend of mine and we ended up planning a Sunday dye day. I had tie-dyed many times before, but this time I became totally fascinated by the process. I went deep into tutorials and learned about ice dyeing, spider dyeing, Shibori – it started to take over all my free time. Pretty soon, friends and family were asking to buy my sweatshirts and soon after that a friend asked to put them on the floor at Tina B. – I thought she was crazy. But they sold quickly, and Tina asked me to be a part of a trunk show/market she was doing inside Body & Soul. I had such great feedback from shoppers I realized it was a viable business and Live & Let Dye was born.

I grew L&LD slowly and bootstrapped everything. I started with an Instagram account and then launched a website a few months later. In late 2019 I picked up a few wholesale accounts (in Florida, NY and NJ) and had some amazing influencers and fashion editors tag me on social media. Then, in early 2020 we were named an editor favorite on Vogue.com. After that, it really took off. I quit my editing job and placed full focus on L&LD, creating new products, collaborating with other businesses and creating custom pieces for companies. This year we’ve been continuing our growth and are launching a luxe collection with heavyweight winter hoodies and cashmere beanies for holiday.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There is no such thing as a smooth road when you’re an entrepreneur! It’s all craziness all the time. Obviously, the biggest struggle was running a business during a pandemic. I was a one-woman show for most of 2020, doing everything from dyeing to packing. Luckily, I had been in business long enough to have systems in place, so it was 24/7 but we made it. I have amazing friends and family and I was eventually able to let a few people come over and work outside with me. My parents and I once ended up spending a weekend dyeing, rinsing and packing 500 aprons for a custom order.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
L&LD creates modern tie-dye. We take classic techniques and ideas and update and modernize them to be cool and stylish. I am a sweatshirt hoarder — I have stacks and stacks in my closet – and I think they’re such a versatile wardrobe piece. You can dress them up and down easily, throw one over jeans or a dress… you can never have too many. We tend toward the bold and I think that helps us stand out. One of the things I’m most proud of is our uniqueness in the market. It’s amazing when people can recognize our pieces, it always blows my mind when someone will spot one on someone or on social and send a picture to me like “This is yours, right?” Most of the time it’s one of our spiders, which are our bestseller.

I also put a lot of time in quality. I try to source the best sweats and socks and totes, to use high-quality dyes, and to put thought into placement and process. I want to make things that fit seamlessly into a wardrobe. Last year I also started doing monthly drops of ice dye collections. The drops are all one-of-a-kind pieces, so once they’re gone, they’re gone forever. They’re always popular because they’re so unique, they have this magical quality to them.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
I am a huge fan of podcasts; I listen a lot while I work. “How I Built This” is a favorite, it’s the ultimate entrepreneur podcast. I also really love “Second Life with Hilary Kerr,” who founded WhoWhatWear. She interviews women who had a major career pivot, so I obviously relate. It’s given me so much great free advice over the years. Most of my phone apps are content-related. Canva is an invaluable resource for small businesses, I do almost all of my marketing materials on it. Apps like Quickshot, VideoLeap and Typic are amazing for helping me create great images. I also use my Notes for everything. They’re my digital post-Its!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photos c/o Live & Let Dye

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