Lake Leelanau’s baabaaZuzu Experiences Increase in Sales From Bernie Sanders Mitten Memes
We’ve all seen the viral memes of Senator Bernie Sanders and his mittens at the Presidential Inaguration, but did you know the idea for his sweater mittens came from Lake Leelanau’s upcycled wool clothing store baabaaZuzu?
“We started 28 years ago this year,” said baabaaZuzu co-owner Sue Burns. “It was a little bit of a laundry mishap that resulted in a pretty good pile of shrunken sweaters. I grew up sewing, and have a background in graphic design, and I just kind of blended the two talents and produced, refashioned little jackets for our young daughters.”
From there, the demand grew to women’s apparel, then hats, scarves, and their famous mittens.
“The mittens took off right away, they’ve been along for our while 28 year ride,” said Burns. “We are very well known for our mittens.”
From their creation, baabaaZuzu inspired others to create their own sweater mittens, too.
“What’s important to us is we are the leader on this industry,” said Burns. “We did create it.”
But they’ve never seen a demand in product quite like this.
“I think that the Bernie mania is driving people to our site,” said Burns. “From there it’s kind of the ‘ooh ahh’ moment for everyone, like there are mittens out there that have a little more flair.”
People were looking to find a pair of copycat mittens themselves, after finding out about the Vermont teacher who gifted them to the senator.
“I know that she’s not currently making them and doesn’t desire to, but we do, and it’s what we do all day long,” said Burns.
The viral meme has brought business back during what would normally be a dormant period for the company
“We were getting ready to sit back in our heels a little bit and all of a sudden this blew up,” said Burns. “We are running nonstop to fill orders and get them out the door.”
Their iconic mitten, now given new life.
“Our neutral color mitten, suddenly is the ‘Bernie mitten’,” she said.