A STORY ABOUT A GIRL, A HUGE LOSS, A HUGE GAIN, TWO FRIENDS AND ONE AMAZING VET CLINIC.
On March 12, 2020, I was in Texas for the first day of a large regional pickleball tourney where I had a booth selling my creation, Sweet Spot Skirts. I had record-breaking sales for an event of this size but this was the day our lives changed because of COVID-19. By 5 pm that day, the event was cancelled and our top priority was to get ourselves safely home to Washington. By the time I actually made it home on March 13, most of our large events over the next 2 months had cancelled and our online sales plummeted along with the stock market. NBA and NCAA cancelled their seasons at the same time we saw the schools across the nation close. Within a week, Sweet Spot Skirts, along with all other non-essential businesses, was shut down by the Governor. It was all very surreal and an abrupt stop.
With the much-needed N95 and medical-grade masks in short supply, all available personal protective equipment was being used in human medicine for COVID-19 protection.
I was approached by Wellhaven Pet Health Clinics to design a surgical hat and mask for their vet clinics across the nation. I knew we could help! We had both the stockpile of necessary materials waiting and the people eager to work. Our goal was to help out the veterinarians and their staff so that the animals could continue to receive essential surgeries, procedures and care. With their initial order, we started to bring back the Sweet Spot Skirts sewing staff and we soon saw the need for protective facewear grow. The partnership between Sweet Spot Skirts and Wellhaven was covered in Vancouver Business Journal, The Oregonian, The Columbian, on Fox Channel 12 and elsewhere. It felt so amazing for our company to be useful during this time of crisis and uncertainty.
One week into this project, my friends Petra and Jim called and said, “We have two words for you, Fashionable Facewear.” They excitedly told me the URL was available and pushed me towards making a direct-to-consumer website. The public’s need for masks was so great. This phone call took place at 8:30 p.m. on a Friday night. By 10:30 that evening, www.facewearfashions.com was created, had product and was a fully operational business! Our new goal was to cover the nose and mouths of virus-concerned Americans with our fabulous designs.
Working around the clock, our existing stock of masks sold out within two days. All of the designs on our website were shown as 'sold out' and our back-order process wasn't established yet. People from all over the country started writing to me desperate to get masks. The urgency in these notes was palpable.
Thank you, my wife is 78 and high risk and is panicking. Even though she doesn’t leave our cottage it would help her greatly to have a mask……sorry, when your message says for me to “order online” I assumed there was a way to do that even though you are currently sold out. Forgive my disappointment. At least YOU are doing something about the problem…
Bless you, Rick
Rick’s e-mail along with the others I received made me fully realize the genuine, immense concerns for the health and safety caused by this pandemic. We are doing this for Rick’s wife! We are doing this for your grandpa and my aunt! I replied to Rick (with tears streaming down my face):
I have no idea how long this will be our “new normal” life. I long for the days of pickleball tournaments, bicycle rides, and marathons. I can’t wait to meet up with friends for lunch or make an easy, safe trip to my grocery store. I have no idea if our Sweet Spot Skirts business will bounce back, but we will fight to the end to make that happen. I have no idea when we will be allowed to open our doors. All I know is that this project has been life altering and has overwhelmed me with gratitude for Wellhaven Pet Clinics for giving me the idea and confidence to become a mask maker. I also have a sense of good old American pride for being able to help during such a disaster as the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Every single mask purchased at $14 puts my team back to work and helps save my paused Sweet Spot Skirts business.
Love to all of you,
Owner/Designer Sweet Spot Skirts & Facewear Fashions