When Chani Gildin of Teaneck started All Made Up, a home-based business selling beanies and headbands, comfort was a top factor in the products she chose. She is emphatic that head coverings are not a one-size-fits-all kind of product. “Everyone has a different sensory feeling,” she said. She chooses a variety of styles, fabrics and textures so all her clients can find their kind of comfy. With a mother who has an occupational therapy practice, Gildin understands just how individual comfy can be. Her selection of beanies includes fitted, stretchy, tight, soft, thick and thin. She knew she found the right headband for her 4-year-old daughter with sensory issues when it didn’t fall down and didn’t trigger any complaints. “It’s amazing,” she said, “it fits me, too.” She looks for styles that she thinks are pretty, not just trendy. She has black, white and neutrals but also blues and fuschia. “I love color!” she exclaimed.
Gildin requests modifications from the factories she works with to put her stamp on products. She changes material to make beanies stretchier so they fit more head sizes. She adds child sizes in a fun adult look, or makes adult sizes in a favorite child’s style. She extolled the virtues of a velvet beanie for newborns that she found and explained how she made it her own. “They are the softest beanies I’ve every felt, so warm and beautiful,” she said. She began making them with hearts at the request of a friend with a newborn girl, and is now making a more gender-neutral version with pom poms.
Gildin started All Made Up just under a year ago, but she’s not new to being an entrepreneur. She was a hairstylist for eight years, selling and servicing sheitels and travelling to wedding halls to work with bridal parties. The pandemic took a bite out of that business. At home with two small children, while her husband, a medical resident, was working tirelessly tending to patients, she was ready for a new venture. Her sister suggested that she begin selling head coverings, knowing how much she liked pretty accessories and dressing up. Accessories make the outfit, in Gildin’s book. “If you wear a plain black dress, the thing that makes it casual or fancy is what you put around it,” she said. “An outfit can be spruced up with shoes—black or bright red, shiny or matte, pointy-toe or round-toe sandals.” Jewelry and hair accessories can completely change an outfit as well. The two began All Made Up, with beanies, headbands and jewelry. Gildin’s sister has since made aliyah, but still acts as a consultant.
“It was a learning curve, knowing how much to buy, what colors and styles to get,” Gildin recalled. She began following fashion bloggers on Instagram to learn more about colors, patterns and trends. She did pop-up sales at people’s homes, getting help from her mother at the register. She has not been seeing customers in person but looks forward to more outdoor pop-ups and boutiques now that the weather is warming up and people are getting vaccinated. She is still selling and servicing sheitels, and mentioned that she is selling her pre-COVID inventory at a huge discount to make room for new styles.
Much to her surprise, Gildin is seeing demand for berets and snoods. Her clients began asking for berets so she has been ordering them, with more seasonal materials and colors coming in. A friend who works for Lizi Headwear gave her six samples of snoods before Pesach and two days later only one was left. “Needless to say, I already asked her to send more,” she said.
To find out about All Made Up sales and pop-ups, follow @allmadeup_accessories and visit https://www.amuaccessories.com. Selected products are available at Carly’z Craze in Teaneck.
By Bracha Schwartz