Retail businesses across Canada have been working to pivot their products in order to help the community during COVID-19. The owner of Hides in Hand, Teresa Paul, has traded the creation of her beautiful moccasins, mittens and handbags to sewing large amounts of cotton face masks. Her creativity and commitment proves the power of craftsmanship during these challenging times.
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COVID-19 HAPPENS, AND INSTANTLY THE WORLD COMES TO A SCREECHING HALT.
"I’ve had no choice but to lay my staff off as there are no craft shows in sight, and my tourism stores are forced to close their doors as well."
"I cried hard for a good day."
The news, the Premier, the Prime Minister are asking for help: Sewists to help make masks.
So, I immediately filled out the necessary forms from numerous websites. I offered my shop, my staff and my machines in order to begin the process. While waiting to hear back, I started. I stood in my shop, checked my inventory of cotton fabrics that I use to line my deerskin purses (which are always pretty and colourful) and created a pattern to make masks.
And I have not stopped since.
It’s not moccasins or mitts, but my sewing machines are happy to sew whatever I put them through.
I did hear back from our government and they encouraged me to continue forward with the path that I am on. I’m told to keep making the cotton reusable masks as this keeps the authorized medical masks available for our frontline workers. I taught my boyfriend how to sew and he’s mastered it! We work 14-16 hours a day and it feels good to do this. Knowing that we are helping to flatten the curve and making a difference gives us the strength and pride we have. I’ve never worked so hard and I’ve owned my business for almost 25 years. I’ve just recently brought back a tiny skeleton crew so we can keep up with the orders. I have orders from single individuals, families, warehouse workers, construction and trucking companies. I am so grateful for every order and every customer.
If we have to wear a mask now, let it be fun and spirited as I have 25 options available.
It’s reversible, washable, reusable and has an opening where a filter can be added if needed. We can always repurpose them for allergies or dust masks down the road as they won’t hit the landfills.
So, until the reset button gets hit, you’ll find me ball and chained to my sewing machine. And I love it. Even during this troublesome time, I’m grateful for my sewing skills, my creative ways and my customers who already know who I am and the quality and commitment they’ll get from Hides in Hand.