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Shark Dress Mystery

by Rebecca Melsky December 18, 2020 3 min read

Click here for the latest update!

The Case of the Faded Tape Marks

About a week ago, a very kind customer wrote in to say that two of the "Hello Chum" sharks dresses she received in the mail had two strange discolorations on the skirt. They seemed to line up perfectly with the tape that was on the clear plastic bag holding each dress.

"That's so strange!" we wrote back, and immediately sent her two new dresses assuming it was some one-off problem with the dresses she had received. But after we heard from another customer with the same problem, and the first woman's replacement dresses ALSO had these strange discolorations, we knew something was up.

Our warehouse checked the "Hello Chum" inventory - long sleeve dresses, sleeveless, snapsuits, scarves. OH NO. Every single one had the same problem: a faded discoloration in the exact shape of the tape sealing shut the bag storing the dress. Every. Single. One.

And THIS, friends, this is our mystery. Here is what we know:

  • These dresses did not have a problem when we first started selling them this spring. Something happened in the few months since then.
  • Our warehouse used the exact same plastic bags and tape that they have used for our products for the past 5 years. No other products currently have or have ever had this issue.
  • The tape does not touch the actual dress in each bag! Because the bag is folded and then taped down, half of the tape is on one single layer of plastic bag and half is on three layers. The discoloration runs the entire length of the tape.
  • Our warehouse stored the products in the same climate-controlled space in the same bins, with the tape-side down, that they do all of our other products.
  • These products were not left out in the sun.
  • The company that prints the fabric used the same dyes and processes that they have used on all of our USA-made printed fabric.
  • The photos show that only the blue and possibly the gray (it's hard to tell) seem to be affected by the fading. The black that runs through the rectangles is not faded. 

Here is what we don't know: HOW??? WHY??? WHAT?????

Two last important things:

1) If you received a "Hello Chum" dress with this issue, please let us know - send an email to hello@princess-awesome.com.

2) "Hello Chum" dresses are now 50% off! The dresses themselves are still completely functional, so if you don't mind two faded tape marks, this is a great deal!

UPDATE 12/21/20

Thank you to everyone who responded to our Shark Dress Mystery with questions, theories, ideas, and advanced knowledge of adhesives, chemistry, fabrics, dyes, and so many, many useful things!

Truly, we are astounded by the level of expertise and information we've received. We are working our way through responding to all emails - thank you for your patience!

We have more info to gather and a few experiments to run, but the consensus of the extraordinary group of scientists and product managers who responded to our email is that the tape let off some kind of gas that permeated the plastic which caused the discoloration of the fabric. This may have been due to a change in chemical make up of the tape or the new color blue dye on the shark print or a combination of both.

We will keep you all posted as we gather more info!

Rebecca Melsky
Rebecca Melsky

Rebecca Melsky is a co-founder of Princess Awesome and its Chief Executive Officer. She and her husband are raising three kids in Washington, DC.

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