Homemade to music. Imagine a beautiful, bubbly beach babe dancing in her backyard here in the South Bay. Her favorite tunes float out on the breeze as she places her latest creations gently on the grass, letting the sun dry the natural fabrics.
“It’s organic and it’s magic because you never know exactly what you are going to create,” says maker Malia Gerold.
South Bay born and bred, Malia was part of the first graduating class of Manhattan Beach Middle School and graduated from Mira Costa. She lives in Manhattan Beach with her husband and high school sweetheart, Mark, and their two beautiful sons, Kai and Wyland.
It was after the birth of baby Kai that she discovered the magic of indigo dying. Becoming a mother opened a whole new world to her as she became conscious of the chemicals in the products she was buying for her son. She specifically remembers pulling a bed sheet out and realizing that the label said it was treated with flame retardant. She remembers thinking, “What is that?”
Around the same time she was pushing Kai in his stroller on The Strand when she realized every baby passing by had the same aden + anais blanket her son loved. A light bulb went off in her head. She would create something just as safe, unique, soft and gorgeous. She ordered a bunch of blankets and an indigo dye kit from Amazon to start experimenting.
“The first batch came out terribly because I didn’t know what I was doing,” Malia laughs, “but then I made a few crib sheets for Kai, and I got the real hang of it.” She started giving them out as gifts for friends at baby showers and then realized she was onto something.
Requests for more started rolling in, and Shibori Shoppe was born. Shibori is the Japanese word for embellishing textiles by shaping cloth and securing it before dyeing. The word comes from shiboru, “to wring, squeeze, press.” Malia describes her brand and aesthetic as how she grew up: “very casual and beachy.”
The dyeing process is quite time-consuming, but she really enjoys it. Malia explains, “You can double-dip, triple-dip, dip as many times as you need to get the color you want. Then I take the fabrics out and leave them all out on the grass. The dye is safe and organic, and I let them sit overnight.
Everything is already washed and set by the time it gets to the customer. You can bind the cloth the same way multiple times, dip it the same way, but each one will be one-of-a-kind and different.”
And she does this all in her very own backyard, using natural indigo dye that can only be used on natural fibers. Her fabric of choice is natural organic cotton bamboo because it holds the dye the best. The natural indigo dye doesn’t fade, and the color doesn’t transfer—unlike synthetic dyes.
“And bamboo cotton is so easy to care for,” she shares. “You just wash it, put it in the dryer, and it will get softer every time!”
Malia also experimented with decorative pillows, swaddles, crib sheets, baby onesies, makeup bags and wraps. The response was overwhelmingly great.
Shiboru Shoppe products can be purchased at her online shop TheShiboriShoppe on Etsy or at Gum Tree or Suite6 in Hermosa Beach. Malia also does custom orders for weddings and baby showers and can design custom-made items—anything from duvet covers to curtains and even dog beds.
If the whole process sounds like a lot of fun, then stay tuned because Malia plans to offer indigo dye workshops in that same backyard. You can choose your own application and experience the process of dyeing your very own piece by hand. And don’t forget to bring your favorite playlist.
A weekend getaway on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula might bring out the Instagram warrior in you.