A lot of people have asked me how we came to design our masks and what was involved. It's a long story to just create the masks, let alone the design. To make my job easier, I will refer them to this blog, that I will share with all of you. If you haven't spent time in textile manufacturing, it should be a real eye-opener, as it was at first to me when we manufactured ties. There are many great videos on Youtube that will show you what is involved in the manufacturing of clothing. Bear in mind, we are not making mass-produced, and machine-produced masks, they are all individually hand-made so we can guarantee quality levels.
Now, before one mask was made:
Many FedExes back and forth for many changes, modifications, and implementation. Additionally:
- We had the original designs for the ties (4 figures each).
2. We had to source an artist to repurpose them.
3. I had to create a new look that worked with the ties so that they matched.
4. The artist then created various renderings one at a time for all 15 designs.
5. We had to source various materials for the masks. We had to test them. We had to create samples and then test them for how they worked.
6. Once that was done, we had to go through various design and size iterations order to ascertain what would work for most people and serve the purpose.
7. We then had someone wear the mask all day, wash it multiple times, and exercise with the mask to understand what would work and how well each material held up to the spray testing.
8. When we thought we had it all done, we had a hold-up with the ties. We wanted to put a plastic end to the tie as you would find in a shoelace. We then realized it would create swelling and that would lead to water retention and possible other microbes.
8b. We then sourced machines and parts in order to put beautiful gold metallic ends to the ties. We then realized that the gold ends would degrade after continuous washing and not look good after a short while; they could also catch on other clothes in the washing machine and ruin them (as it is a gentle wash and people may add other gentle articles).
8c. Our next idea was to use a hot knife. This would allow us to seal the ends so that there would not be an opening remaining. We ordered a special design for this project.
8d. We discovered another issue that was critical to a safe design. If we sealed off the ends we would have a possible issue with trapped moisture in the actual ties of the masks, and this would definitely cause microbes and maybe even mold within. We had to scrap that idea for your safety.
9. When we finally had it all figured out we then could produce the masks.
10. Now we designed envelopes for the shipping. We wanted to share our creativity and create a great shopping experience. We had two designs. We liked them both equally and had them made. Minimum run printer cost: $2500.
11. We now mailed two packages to ourselves: one with one mask, and one with two. We realized that our 6 x 9 envelopes would only fit two. However, we had two learning experiences.
12. When we shipped them to ourselves, the envelopes came back fully wrinkled. Back to the drawing board. Our printer finally came up with the idea of taking a 65 pound stock, scoring it for folding, folding it in half, and lining the envelope with it. Now the cost for shipping went up. However, the masks came back to us looking very professional.
13. Just as we thought we had it figured out, the envelope with 2 masks was a little on the full side and hard to ship. The next step was to tell the manufacturers for any masks not made yet, to limit the amount of air in each package.
14. Now we had the challenge that people ordered masks for family members and our envelopes had to fit more than 2 masks, which they couldn't. Back to the drawing board, do we make larger envelopes with our designs or do we go with something else that provides a nice experience? We decided on colored plastic envelopes for the meantime (yes we are earth-friendly, it is only temporary) as there was no time to design larger envelopes and print them.
15. If I am sharing the back-end of fashion production, there is one other glitch I have to share. Our envelopes had a space for labels and as they were printed in a commercial laser printer, there was some type of film that made the address labels begin to peel. We couldn't risk them peeling all the way.
16. We decided to change our shipping method and use Shopify's so that we could create a shipping container that looked classy. We removed the shipping label-rectangle and used the larger Shopify shipping label on the other side of the envelope (the label alone adds about time and money to the cost of the shipping).
We had our final product ready to ship in any quantity. Hope you enjoyed the journey.
Be safe and healthy
Chief Creative Director