Cody Jack Armstrong is like any average seventh grader. He enjoys soccer, especially ASU soccer, has Fathead stickers on his bedroom walls and apparatus for weightlifting in the corner. What Cody also has is a pair of sewing machines and about a half dozen storage tubs with beanies and materials waiting to be cut and sewn.
Cody, who is his grandmother’s only grandson, said he used to sew with her, and when the opportunity arose for a textile class in sixth grade, Cody signed up. There, his teacher, Mrs. Smith, taught him how to sew and stitch the warm caps. That was in May of this year and now, seven months later, Cody could be on the verge of opening his own shop.
“Mrs. Smith taught him how to make the beanies,” Cody’s mother said. “His grandmother is the one that first taught him how to sew, and Ms. Kari (a family friend) is the one that has been mentoring him.” Kari, who also has a sewing business, makes leotards, and even helped Cody create and print his “Cody Jack” logo, which he sews onto each handmade cap, and recommended he take part in boutiques.
When Cody’s grandfather was hospitalized, he made him a beanie to counter the cold rooms. Around that same time, a family friend was diagnosed with cancer and, as a result, lost his hair. That’s when Cody made it a mission to create the softest possible beanie for him. Undertaking his small, homebased business hasn’t been smooth, however. Finding the right materials and learning how to sew the beanies in a way that won’t itch or create discomfort for someone with no hair has been tricky.
“Fleece is typically softer so it feels nicer on the head,” Cody said. He tried making some with liners and some that are reversible, but he is still experimenting with various options. “At the end of the day, his goal is to donate 10 percent of his proceeds,” his mom said, adding that he also hopes to donate fabric to his teacher and, if possible, beanies to kids at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where the friend is receiving treatment.
After word of Cody’s beanie making got around, his friends have been hoping for custom designs. “People asked me to make them some, so I would just make a couple and have them try them on,” he said. Since he has been taking orders from friends and family, his mom says the sports themed ones are the hot item right now, however the ones with gummy bears sell nearly as well. Cody has even tried selling his collection at a boutique at Dayspring United Methodist Church, but inclement weather at the time dampened his turnout. He is now ramping up production with as many as four beanies a day to create enough inventory for his a boutique planned for next year.
While his business is still developing and he is still finding a production rhythm, Cody is taking orders for ultra soft and handmade beanies with custom designs. For inquiries or orders, those interested can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.