Be the Love 🖤 Wear a Mask • A Mask-Maker's Journey
For me, making masks is as much an act of love as wearing one. I'm truly grateful to be able to use my creativity to help during this pandemic. To date, I've made over 1000 masks. The process has been humbling and inspiring, a challenge, and at times grueling, but a silver lining nonetheless - if there can even be one right now.
When I first answered the call to become a mask-maker, through a donation request on NextDoor, I had no idea what I was in for. All I knew was that nurses, health care, and essential workers were desperately in need of PPE, and (like many other creatives) I thought to myself: okay, THIS is how I can help!
As a former craft editor and prop stylist of 15+ years, I had an overwhelming collection of fabric that had piled up over the years. My sewing skills were intermediate, and the masks seemed simple enough. In a spontaneous flash, I began my mission. It was a no brainer.
At least that's what I thought! Over the next few weeks, I made small batches that were distributed to various organizations via the generous efforts of kind souls. I also donated fabric to other sewers in the neighborhood, each on their own journeys, busily sewing away in their own homes.
I did a little post about the effort on Facebook, and before long I began receiving requests from friends and family who wanted some for themselves. One friend suggested reimbursing me through Venmo, so I decided it would be easier to create a product listing for it here on my website.
Ironically, the product launched the exact same day the US Surgeon General announced the guidance for all of us to wear face masks, and that same day I had 80 orders!
My process from there was intense. The requests kept coming in, Forbes listed my masks in an article which resulted in more press-links and ultimately nation-wide orders. My 20-year-old sewing machine broke down, threads kept on snapping, and I had a steep learning curve to bring these handmade masks from donation-worthy to product-awesome.
I was determined to make this work. People needed their masks, and I couldn't let them down! The pressure was on. I re-tooled - got a new industrial sewing machine, and an electric cutter. I scoured the internet for additional materials. It was as though we were suddenly cut off from all supply and quick delivery - the fight for fabric and thread became very real! I sewed literally morning, noon, and night to get them out to customers as fast as I could, and it was very challenging to keep up.
Fast forward three months later to June and I was finally all caught up, and back to a more manageable pace. Now it's July, and sadly we are not out of the woods with this pandemic... I continue to make masks as more orders and re-orders come in.
What I've enjoyed most about this unexpected journey, is connecting with so many lovely customers writing in to let me know how pleased they are with their masks. One customer in her late 70's thanked me for helping give her a "feminine boost!" Another wrote to let me know he wore his on a flight to NYC and it "helped him feel safe."
Definitely a silver lining, and right now, I'll take it.
Please be the love, be safe, and wear a mask 🖤
There's still time to order for you and your family...