(Image via Brooke Seff)
Like many Americans in 2020, Brooke Seff, a junior at the University of Akron and her boyfriend, UA alum Bill Schulz, were stuck in a long, boring quarantine due to COVID-19.
Much like the rest of us, during lockdown the couple spent hours upon hours watching TikTok videos.
After watching more DIYs than they could count, one thing caught their eye.
“We saw people tufting and realized we would love to do that,” Seff said. Tufting is also known as rug making.
Seff and Schulz got into tufting.
They went online in search of a tufting gun but were having a tough time finding one. According to Tuft The World, tufting guns automatically adhere yarn loops to a rug backing. Watch a demonstration of how a tufting gun works here.
Tufting guns from Tuft The World range from $275 to $875, and are currently backordered until April, largely due to the pandemic.
Eventually, the couple got all the supplies they needed to begin tufting rugs. They planned to tuft for fun and to gift their rugs to friends and family.
“My boyfriend and I are both very creative. Together we decided that we had to come up with something productive to do with our free time due to COVID-19 boredom,” Seff said.
All Seff’s classes at The University of Akron are online because of COVID-19, which allows her more free time. Schulz is a videographer and has some downtime in the winter months.
With abundant free time and some early success, “our rug business NoFluff was created,” Seff said.
The rug business NoFluff took off in December of 2020 when Seff and Schulz started posting videos of themselves making rugs on TikTok.
One video went viral on Seff’s account @brookemakenzie_ with over 57.2K views of their Rocket League rug. NoFluff’s social media began to blow up.
Well known Youtuber, Treyten, who has 1.75 million subscribers, messaged Seff and Schulz asking to purchase two rugs of his logo, “Hey Woah.”
The couple was thrilled. In addition to creating the two commissioned rugs, they surprised him with a third rug designed like another one of his logos, in the shape of a donut. Treyten gave NoFluff a shoutout on his channel causing NoFluff’s Instagram @noflufftufting to gain followers.
“If it wasn’t for our free time from COVID-19, things being closed, and us not being able to do what we normally do, we probably wouldn’t have started this business,” Seff said.
Flexible learning options due to COVID-19 played a role in helping the business take off.
“Having my classes online really helps,” Seff said.
Even after COVID-19 slows down and life starts happening as usual, the couple plans to continue their rug business, NoFluff.
According to the couple, anyone can start their own business. “All you need is a good idea and great marketing skills,” Seff said. “You just have to put time into it but if your creation takes off, it could all be worth it.”