Elbows deep in dye is her happy place, and looking at the colorful creations our NJMOMpreneur Danielle Angel brings to her design line Collective Hand, you can see why. This creative mama of two has built a business celebrating the ancient art of of natural, sustainable dyeing: using vibrant flowers, seeds, food scraps and other nature-made beauty to invent truly unique, one-of-a-kind fabrics and clothing. With a passion for postpartum health and a love of yoga, this compassionate and driven Oakhurst mom sat down with us to talk about her advice for other mothers navigating a new business, overcoming personal and professional challenges and exploring some of her favorite spots around the state (she’s as in love with Asbury Park as we are and has some great go-to’s for your list)!
featured image via Clayton Reynolds
Founder of Collective Hand & NJMOMpreneur Danielle Angel
NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Danielle: Collective Hand is devoted to the ancient art of natural dye sustainable dyeing practices. We use only natural and sustainable dyes including food scraps, spices, seeds, flowers (many of which are locally foraged or grown in my garden) and bark. We apply these ingredients to the fabric in our own unique ways that we have developed over the years. I recently was asked to teach a Shibori Indigo Dyeing Workshop to the Art Club at my son’s school and the kids loved it! I realized it would be a great activity for kids birthday parties. It is a unique activity that I haven’t seen before at birthday parties.
Don’t give up and be patient. We started our business five years ago and it is steadily growing. Don’t forget to make time to take care of you.” – NJMOMpreneur Danielle Angel
NJMOM: What inspired you to get into your line of work?
Danielle: As a kid, I loved to tye dye. When friends would come over to play, we would sneak to the basement and tye dye t-shirts with kits that I had laying around. To this day my parent’s basement sink still has stains all over it from my dyeing escapades. Even though I always had an artistic side, as I grew up I became more focused on academic achievement and I honestly forgot about dyeing entirely. I ended up going to medical school but realized very quickly that it wasn’t for me. A few years later, in 2014, my sister-in-law approached me about starting a natural dye textile company and Collective Hand was born. Every time I dye I connect with that little girl who loved it so much.
NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Danielle: The dyeing part really. Due to the nature of the dye, no two pieces of fabric look exactly the same. My favorite part of my work is taking the fabric out of the dye pot or vat and unraveling the binding to discover the design. It’s like opening up a present! I am in my element when I have my arms elbow deep in color. On any given day my fingertips range from pink to blue or purple, depending on what I am working on.
NJMOM: What is your background in your business expertise?
Danielle: My background is actually in science, I love science. After leaving med school, I began a journey to find myself. I traveled the world, lived in Israel for a few years and became a Health Coach in 2011. In between, I worked various jobs to get by, but from the second I submerged the fabric in a dye vat I fell in love with the craft. A big part of that is because there is a lot of science involved in making a dye vat, extracting dye and binding dyes to fabrics. So my work is the perfect marriage of my artistic and scientific sides. After many years of experimenting with various dyes and techniques, I have honed my skills and I am ready to share my passion with the world.
NJMOM: What are you most proud of in your career?
Danielle: I am most proud of just sticking with it. There are a lot of ups and downs when it comes to running your own business. Since starting the business I had a baby and my business partner had a baby. There were times when we each had to carry the weight of the business while the other was recovering, my business partner was adapting to her new role as a mother and I was adapting to being a mother of two. We work around our children’s schedules and support each other as best friends and business partners. That always comes first.
NJMOM: What is something few people know about you?
Danielle: I love Kundalini yoga. I’ve tried many different types of yoga throughout the years and Kundalini is the only yoga I have practiced where I feel instantly better right after.
NJMOM: What can we expect from you next year – personally and professionally?
Danielle: My partner and I are always developing new products from meditation cushions to garments and wall hangings. The Collective Hand website is the best place to keep up to date with what we are up to. There is also a link to a list of shops that carry our line under stockists. I think it’s a great activity for kids birthday parties and I hope to teach them more. Each child walks away with a hand-dyed garment of their own, the kids have a blast, and I enjoy being a part of the fun. Personally, I hope to go through Kundalini yoga teacher training and become a certified teacher, it’s been a long time coming.
NJMOM: What charitable cause are you most passionate about?
Danielle: I am very passionate about postpartum health. After suffering from severe postpartum depression and anxiety with my second child, I feel very inspired to help other moms going through the same thing. 1 in 7 moms and 1 in 10 dads suffer from postpartum depression. It is very common yet not spoken about enough, like many other mental health issues. Postpartum Support International (PSI) is a nonprofit organization that helps moms and new families with mental health and it is an organization that resonates with me deeply.
NJMOM: Who is your role model? Why?
Danielle: My role model is my grandmother, she taught me from an early age that girls can do anything boys can do (and probably better). She was kind and sweet to whoever she met, and even though she endured great hardships she always had a smile on her face.
NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice your mom (or parent/role model) ever gave to you?
Danielle: The best advice I have ever gotten was to be myself. I always struggled with making friends and being comfortable in my skin. The older I get, the more I realize that authenticity is the key.
NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by? Why is this quote so important to you?
The wound is the place where the light enters you.” – Rumi
I wouldn’t be the person that I am today if it weren’t for everything I have gone through, the good and the bad. The hardships have created a space in me that is tender and feels for others deeply.
NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?
Danielle: Asbury Park in the summer (and all year round) is my favorite area. I usually park my car (or bike) by Asbury Park Convention Hall. I always end up on the beach and strolling down the boardwalk. My son loves the vintage arcade Silverball Museum and I love the margaritas at Langosta Lounge. For date night my husband and I love Watermark. I can go on and on.
NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Danielle: The best part about becoming a mom is that it has made me stronger than I ever thought I could be. I realized when my first child was born that I had a limited amount of time and energy and I stopped dwelling on a lot of negative thinking and behaviors that I struggled with when I was younger.
NJMOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey?
Danielle: I love Sea + Green and Big Spoon Little Spoon Naturals in Asbury Park, and the green playground on the Asbury Park boardwalk for kids. Rook and Cafe Volan are my go-to spots for coffee. Ohana Rising is my favorite yoga studio in Ocean Grove.
NJMOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Danielle: I live in Oakhurst, New Jersey. We only moved to this area from Brooklyn less than a year ago and don’t vacation much in New Jersey. We usually go to the Woodstock area in upstate New York for our yearly camping trip. We also love vacationing in Amish Country. There are lots of animals and fun activities to do with the kids.
NJMOM: What advice might you have for a fellow NJMOMpreneur who is just starting out?
Danielle: Don’t give up and be patient. We started our business five years ago and it is steadily growing. Also, don’t forget to make time to take care of you. There are times when I have so much to do I don’t know where to begin. So instead I do a little bit of yoga, sometimes just 10 minutes, and it helps me feel more focused. Ask for help. More often than not people will be willing to help you, you just have to be willing to ask.
NJMOM: Anything else you’d like to tell moms in New Jersey?
Danielle: In addition to offering kids birthday dyeing parties and selling naturally dyed textiles, I recently started a new business selling crystals. I turned to crystals when I was experiencing severe postpartum depression and it really helped me, especially with the sleep issues I was having. To learn more, you can follow me on Instagram: @freedomrocksco.