To our lovely friends and customers,
The past two weeks have been a wild ride for everyone. The toughest decisions of my career had to be made. As a Boston-based business owner of over 35 years, I have never been forced to put staff on unemployment nor have I ever been late on rent payments. It is both demoralizing and humbling to ask for the help we need to get back on our feet, but withstanding that, I know the top priority is that we all do our part in fighting this virus. I know brighter days are ahead.
Last week our headquarters shut down. Foreseeing this, we prepared a huge volume of sample fabric to cut for home-sewn DIY face mask kits and finished masks. These fabric masks were not meant to be used for frontline medical purposes, but rather to provide some barrier of entry for those who need immediate protection. (I have been criticized by some that they are not sterile.) They are washable and organizations around the country have asked for them, including nursing homes, shelters, clergy, schools, and different kinds of non-profits. On Thursday, Lauren Baker (Massachusetts’s First Lady and Founder of The Wonderfund) texted me to ask for masks for the Department of Social Services. I learned that social workers don’t have protection as they enter the homes of children they are supervising. We provided what we could immediately and will be sending even more.
When we posted this initiative on Monday, we received over 300 requests within 45 minutes! Wow! We had to disable the request links as quickly as we had posted them. While using precaution, we have made every humanly effort to get these kits out at lightspeed. To date, we have shipped approximately 100 kits of 10 units (1,000 masks) and sewn over 150 masks by our volunteer staff at home. Please be patient if you requested a kit and have not yet received it yet; we are doing the best we can with limited resources and are sending them as soon as they’re ready. (There are other tangles in this operation aside from manpower; we are running out of elastic and suppliers are currently shut down!) Thank you for wanting to help!
On another note, SURPRISE! If you received our email last night, then you know we launched a pop-up online shop! Somewhat ironically, we have been building a new e-commerce site to be launched in August, but this simple solution is an immediate response to the crisis at hand. I always say to my crew, "It takes a village to make a dress!" and now I have discovered, “It takes an even BIGGER village to make a pop-up!"
The new website features some of our favorites and best-sellers, all made in the USA from imported fabrics. We are asking that shoppers return the product within three days if it doesn’t work for them, due to our limited quantities (if it’s at your home, it’s potentially unavailable for the next person who may want it). Try it on, feel the luxurious fabrics, take a wiggle, do a little dance, (sing a little song?), and I hope it makes you happy! If not, the instructions for your return/exchange are included in your package. As a small business operation, we appreciate any shopping that you may indulge in.
Those of you who’ve known us through the past many years know that we are survivors. I have the most amazingly loyal, big-hearted, generous staff of individuals and advisors that any business owner could be blessed with. This of course includes my business partner and best friend of over 30 years, Peter Wheeler. With tenacious faith, we intend to continue living our daily challenge:
“Expanding beyond what we know we can be!”