In 2020 when the world shut down, after selling predominantly clothing, stickers & accessories for 3 years, my business took on mask-making for a few months, generating about $30,000 worth of mask-only revenue in the month of April alone. Thankfully I had hired help (one of my best college friends & fashion classmates), and we were able to not only make and sell thousands of mask at emergency-level demand directly to customers all around the United States, but we also donated about 600 handmade masks to our local hospitals.
Keeping up with supply and demand was intense, but with our school shutting down Carly and I were able to focus long days and nights on this project. We braved Walmart together, purchasing King-sized 100% cotton sheets to use for additional fabric options while our personal & donated stock depleted. We experimented with different styles, sizes, designs, features (for example; tie ear loops vs closed ear loops, slits for filters, etc) and ended up designing patchwork masks with the scraps to reduce waste & add stylish options. We also made kids sizes and XL sizes to reach the largest audience possible and literally provide protection (to the best of our knowledge) from the disease we all feared.
We listened to our customers' feedback, altering the designs for individuals if, for example, their mask didn't fit, we'd make them another one custom-fit. Inevitably, some masks (very few) did get lost in the mail. With the uncertainty at the time, we were very thankful for mail carriers and the United States Postal Service continuing to provide services and happily accommodated for anything that was lost in the mail. We appreciate those essential workers!
While we designed and sewed, we were also keeping up with Etsy shipping demands, customer service requests, and took multiple trips to the post office. While this was a frightening time for everyone, we were intentional about meeting the market demand when it hit and doing our best to play a part in protecting friends, families, and strangers all around the United States by providing well-made masks.