The teacher who made Bernie Sanders' iconic mittens said she's received offers to turn them into a business

The teacher who made Bernie Sanders' iconic mittens said she's received offers to turn them into a business
Bernie Sanders sitting alone with mittens on Inauguration Day sparked a flurry of memes.BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images
  • Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders wore a pair of homemade sweater mittens to the inauguration.
  • The mittens, made by Vermont resident Jen Ellis, have become a social media sensation.
  • Ellis told Slate that she's received offers to turn the mittens into a business, but is focused on her "real life."

A photo of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders attending President Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday has taken over social media, but one piece of fashion has drawn particular attention: Sanders' homespun mittens.

The mittens were among the most buzzed-about looks from the day. Now, the Vermont-based creator of the mittens - second-grade teacher Jen Ellis - told Slate reporter Rachelle Hampton that she's received offers to turn her mittens into a business.

The mittens, which Ellis gave to Sanders in 2016, are made from recycled sweaters, Insider's Rachel Askinasi reported. Prior to the inauguration, they also drew buzz on the 2020 campaign trail given their Vermont origins and even led to the creation of a @BerniesMittens Twitter account.

Now, they're a crucial part of what's arguably 2021's first major meme: an image of Sanders sitting in a folding chair, mask on his face with mitten-clad hands crossed on his lap.

Read more: Bernie Sanders turned his inauguration meme into a sweatshirt to raise money for charity


Ellis spoke with Slate about the mittens going so viral online. She said that while she missed the earliest beginnings of the meme since she was teaching remotely, she was "completely surprised and delighted and flattered" to see Sanders wearing the mittens she had made on television.

She told Slate that she's been sent "legitimate offers" from people who say they own a factory or could help her publicize her business, saying that if so inclined, she could "drop everything and pursue that path."

Indeed, people online have been clamoring for the mittens. Ellis tweeted on Wednesday thanking people for their interest, but saying that she no longer had any for sale.

She said that amid all the hype, she's still remained focused on her day-to-day life.

"This is a really lovely flash in the pan, but I know that it's not gonna last and I need to keep my day job," she told Slate.


"The path that I'm already on brings me a tremendous amount of joy ... this little blip of fame is sweet, and it'll pass, and then my regular life will just be what it already is, which is kind of nice," she said.