What can a small entrepreneur, fashion designer and artist do in times of crisis? Persevere, create and continue to keep a shop of six employees afloat.
More than any of my usual designer clothing creations, my new line of face masks has generated a lot of questions from people who, like us all, are trying to figure out the best way to navigate this crisis. I want to take this opportunity to answer some of the most frequently asked questions today.
Why packs of 4 masks?
People need more than one mask. They should have a spare mask around with them at all times. They need to wash the masks and let them dry. With a pack of four masks, they can manage this comfortably. Selling masks individually would not be cost effective for my operation.
Who receives donated masks?
I’ve handed out masks to health care workers, grocery store clerks and vulnerable members of our community here in Montreal’s Mile End.
*Note: Masks should not be used on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.
Do your masks include filters?
No. These masks are sewn with a double layer of high thread count fabric. The double layer of fabric is the filter.
What quality fabric do you use?
Our masks are made with both 100% cotton or 95% organic cotton 5% Lycra
Why does a package of four masks cost $79?
Because they are high quality masks, made locally with top quality materials, and they offer protection.
$4 are donated ($1 for each mask) to the Welcome Collective, a non-profit organization that provides food and clothes and life essentials to newly arrived refugee families.
It pays the Uber driver who delivers the fabric to my seamstresses, who are working from home. For overhead and utilities, rent on the boutique and workshop. I’m protecting my livelihood.
I’m responsible for six employees who, like me, are looking forward to the day we can reopen for business and sell dresses instead of masks. We're not Costco with the kind of deep pockets that can weather the current economic storm. We don’t get their volume discounts.
I’m a small, independent entrepreneur, with a small, independent fashion boutique and six valued Montreal-based employees who count on my designer production to earn a living.
Are these masks really a good idea?
Yes, masks are a good idea when used appropriately to minimize contagion during ordinary interactions. It's useful to wear some kind of nose and mouth covering. They are recommended by the WHO, CDC, Health Canada and the Quebec government. They are an asset for my family, friends, neighbours and clients.