Trying to keep her hair out of her face with store-bought headbands wasn’t cutting it for Katie Lieder as a volleyball player at a Lansing high school. They either slipped forward and blocked her vision, slipped backward and fell off, or pulled her hair and gave her a headache. She found a solution–and a new business–on a visit to a fabric store with her mother. “You know, I think you could probably make a headband,” her mom suggested. “Let’s get some materials and see where it takes you.’ “
A wider, four-inch fabric headband, says Lieder, did the trick. Her business breakthrough came a few months later, after her post to an athletic-based Facebook page about the fabrics, colors, and virtues of her headbands. “Within forty-eight hours I had over 150 orders, and it sort of took off from there.”
A Facebook suggestion gave the business a name: Bands On The Run. The mutual love she and her father share of the Beatles, and Paul McCartney and Wings, cinched it. (The earworm haunting you is McCartney’s “Band on the Run,” not Bands.)
Lieder, who began buying American Girl dolls on craigslist and selling them on eBay when she was seven years old, started selling the headbands on Etsy in 2015. After moving to Ann Arbor the following year, she added local craft shows and the Ypsi farmers’ market. Now twenty-two, she recently started a job at Trillium Real Estate but continues to make the headbands in her apartment. During her March-June peak season she ships fifteen to twenty orders a week, each typically for three or four headbands. Recent customers include IM=X Pilates in Ann Arbor, a high school cheerleading team in Oklahoma, and running and yoga groups across the country.