Fashion industry pro pivots after pandemic layoff to launch tie-dye clothing line

"When I look back now, I can't believe I did that," said Wendy Levitt.

Wendy Levitt lived a fashion life many girls dream of - from LA to New York, the West Bloomfield native worked for big brands like Miss Sixty, True Religion and Kenneth Cole.

"It was the best job I ever had," she said. "I traveled so much, learned so much, it really opened my eyes to the world."

But last April, during the height of the Covid pandemic, Wendy was laid off - and a recent move to Michigan put her back where she started, 25 years ago.

"In April I was like what am I going to do with my life, I sulked for a week or two," she said. "A friend said 'I bought this kit on Amazon - you should try it.' I was like, okay."

Wendy Levitt, the creative force behind Suki and Merk.

Wendy started tie-dying everything from shirts and sweat pants to T-shirts, masks, and towels. She gave it to friends and family, who loved the products and started talking, sharing, and buying.

But coming up with a name for her custom tie-dye business was probably the toughest part.

"One day my mom was like, 'What about Suki and Merk?' (I said) who are they? 'They were your father and I's parakeets when we were dating.' I'm like, done," she said.

Wendy started hustling with her connections in the fashion industry and Suki and Merk sales started to soar.

"I gave it to a blogger and from there on out it just kind of blew up," she said. "She has a huge following, and I personally know her, and it just snowballed.

"I started working with retail stores, I started doing different things with organizations here. I did camps, I did Zoom teaching, (I thought) how can I make myself different, whether it be the letters on the shirts, or monogramming, or a cool saying that might be an inside joke between friends. And I think that is what really separates me from other businesses too."

FOX 2: "And the truth is you probably wouldn't have done this if it wasn't for being laid off because of Covid?"

"Absolutely," Levitt said. "It wouldn't have crossed my mind, not in a million years."

But seven months later - Wendy's leap of faith is paying off. The custom tie-dye business based out of her Birmingham home is booming - with plans to expand her brand.

For more information go to The Suki and Merk Instagram page, here.