Banning, Norris are stuck on hobby
Duct tape: Most men's answer to fix just about everything.
It's usually the gray tape that most men can't live without.
Boredom and experimentation have resulted in two Marion High School juniors taking the sticky stuff to a whole new level.
Bags, neckties, wallets, and yes, even flowers are being made from the tacky tape.
Joe Norris, 17, of rural Marion, and Seth Banning, 16, of Florence, are partners of sorts in the duct taping business.
And it's not just gray. There's purple and pink and yellow and orange and blue and green and white and black.
Seth had been using duct tape for craft projects for a long time. Joe learned the art because he was looking for something to do in his spare time.
After Seth sold a wallet at school, the business took off.
"A wallet turned into a bag then a necktie," Joe said.
And what a bag it is. Durable, waterproof, and colorful, the bag was made by weaving colored tape together. Folding duct tape where the sticky side of one piece adheres to the sticky side of another piece makes really strong cloth-like material.
The entire bag is composed of colored duct tape, except for a piece of cardboard in the bottom. Even the straps are made of the tape.
"This stuff is strong," Joe said, demonstrating that the straps won't break under quite a bit of pressure.
A design for the bag was found on the Internet and then the two perfected it and have made 10 so far, mainly sold to classmates.
Wallets have the same durability.
Several neckties also have been made and sold. Joe takes the pattern from a manufactured necktie to get the correct dimensions and makes the designs on the tie per the customer's request.
A bouquet of flowers was designed for Marion High School Junior-Senior Prom this past Saturday, with some single flowers ordered and made for occasion. The flowers are three dimensional with each petal individually made.
Seth even made a duct tape vest, tie, and belt that he wore to the prom with sandals that he converted to duct tape shoes.
"Next year I want to make a full duct tape tux," Joe said with a smile, and to his mother's chagrin.
Joe's and Seth's parents wholeheartedly support the teens and their hobby/business but Joe's mother, Jynifur Bryant, jokingly said she wasn't so sure about the tux idea.
Duct tape and time are their investment. So far they have been able to break even with their venture, purchasing additional tape as they sell items.
The only tools they use to make the items are a ruler and sometimes scissors. Usually they are able to rip the tape with their hands.
Right now their goal is to make enough money to have a booth at Marion's Art in the Park in September, which means a large inventory of cash-and-carry articles, and quite a bit more duct tape.
They are not just limiting themselves to certain kinds of items. If someone wants the tape masters to make something specific, they'll do their best to accommodate them.
Joe and Seth also have an assistant, Olivia Kincaid, who helps with the orders.
Joe is the son of Josh and Jynifur Bryant and Seth is the son of Peter and Melinda Banning.
Right now they're searching for a business name and logo.
To order items, call Joe at (620) 382-2453 or contact Seth at email@example.com.
Currently the two work individually on orders but would like to streamline production.
The entrepreneurs hope their business is just the beginning of an organized production and broad inventory from the popular adhesive.