Similarly to how every company you’ve ever shopped with has taken it upon themselves to email you a generic message about how “they’re here for you during these unprecedented times,” every company that has ever existed also seems to now be getting in on the retail mask game. That being said, as easy as it is to just bulk order some trendy masks from Amazon right now, you should instead consider putting your dollar where it actually matters and support a small businesses in need. I mean, I’m pretty sure Jeff Bezos will still be okay without your $20 mask purchase. Plus, many small businesses have their own unique mask designs, which means they’re going to be higher quality crafted than your mass-produced option (plus you can be original, if that matters to you). So with that in mind, here are some really cool small businesses that you can support and buy your masks from right now. This whole mask thing isn’t going away any time soon (especially since only half of you seem to be following the guidelines of wearing them) so you might as well stock up and buy several, and even do some additional good while you’re at it by supporting small businesses.
I came across this company on Instagram and was immediately obsessed. Thirty20 was born within the last year, started by a woman named Julie Gruttadauro who, after working in the fashion and retail industry for over 10 years, decided to start her own online boutique. Given the inventory implications resulting from COVID, Grattadauro is currently specializing her product assortment in custom tie-dye pieces, like the above tie-dye masks.
2. Righteous & Rich
This sustainable fashion company, Righteous & Rich, is a Black-owned company offering unique pieces with cool designs, like their bright masks made with Ankara prints. The masks also have a filter pocket and wire at the nose which, as we’ve discussed, is crucial.
3. United by Blue
This Philly-based small business is doing good in more ways than one. To start, the company’s mission is rooted in the belief that business should be a part of environmental solutions, not a hindrance towards it. They believe that businesses can operate in a sustainable, minimal-waste way, and are doing their part to prove it. They host cleanups, remove trash from the oceans, and now donate one mask to benefit Philadelphia residents experiencing homelessness for every three-pack sold. Amazing.
In response to COVID-19, Flayr was founded in Santa Barbara by three friends whose mission was to create stylish and fun masks to help keep people safe. They use high-quality materials and fashionable prints to create masks you’ll be excited to wear. Plus, making us love them even more, for every mask that they make they also will donate one.
5. CAAB Customs
Founded in 2012 by Tiffany James, CAAB Customs makes some wild face masks that you’re going to need to get you through this year (and that also make incredibly hilarious gifts.) Black woman-owned, this is a company you’ll feel good about supporting, with masks featuring slogans ranging from the more conservative “gimme my 6 feet” to the more provocative “sh*t is gettin’ real.”
NIGHT is a company that specializes in high-quality sleep accessories, and they’re on a mission to ensure you get the most out of every night’s sleep. They’ve taken their philosophy now into the daytime mask game, offering silk masks that come with filters. Silk is known for its inherently antibacterial properties, which is obviously helpful when we’re talking protective face masks. Not to mention, the softness of the material makes these masks comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time without any irritation.
Founder of Baliawear, Alvina Lam, founded her company with a focus on fit, allowing women of all shapes and sizes to wear her pieces. But that’s not where the mission of Baliawear stopped. Lam’s mission is also rooted in ensuring sustainable practices along with a desire to give back. She’s now putting her mission into action, selling masks as part of an initiative to “buy one, give one” to donate back to shelters where social distancing isn’t necessarily possible.
8. Frank and Myrhh Shop
Frank and Myrhh is an Etsy shop specializing in handmade African artisan goods geared towards millennials. Owner Baiyinah grew up with that entrepreneurial spirit in her blood, having parents that opened an African Arts Boutique 30 years ago in Pittsburgh, PA. Baiyinah has since channeled her own energy into creating her shop, Frank and Myrhh, selling her own curation of artisan wares. She sells tons of cool stuff, including masks ranging from more subtle plain ones to ones with abstract prints.
9. Zelda Boutique
Zelda Boutique is a mother/daughter-owned boutique that is located in New Hope, PA. They sell an assortment of trendy cool clothes with the promise that everything is under $100. Since COVID, they’ve expanded their already incredible product assortment to now also include face masks, like this cool tie-dye one.
10. Hackwith Design House
I was introduced to this company by a friend who ordered their masks and was raving about them. Hackwith Design House is a sustainable, low-waste brand that makes versatile and long-lasting clothing. Recognizing the implications quarantine has had on domestic abuse victims, the company is giving back 10% of sales to the Domestic Abuse Project. Their masks are lightweight with simple prints, and, like I said, my friend raves about them.
This cute LA coffee shop (that also sells other goodies as well) is now personally hand-making masks that are double-layered and made with high-quality cotton. Their masks feature a Japanese block print design and, for every mask sold, they sew one for an essential worker. You can shop their products all currently available on their site.
12. Reuse Masks
With a focus on comfortability and good fit, Reuse Masks designs and manufactures their masks in LA. Their goal is to add some personality to this new normal to help make these hard times a little bit better while keeping the community safe. Most of their masks are currently sold out, but stay posted for the next drop so you can support this incredible small business.
13. KASH Queen
KASH Queen is a women’s online boutique that’s all about manifesting your dreams in style, which I can definitely get behind. In addition to stylish and trendy clothes that empower women, KASH Queen sells masks with inspiring and cheeky messages, like the one above reminding us to keep the vibes strong even during these
~unprecedented times~ months ahead.
This company is led by twin fashion designers To-Tam and To-Nya Sachika, who are selling fashionable transparent masks that will keep you safe while also allowing people to actually see you smile. But remember, if you’re not smiling, people will also be able to see that too. Anyway, through their sales SACHIKA is also currently giving back to the Los Angeles Downtown Women’s Center which makes them an even better small business that you’ll want to support.
Given what’s going on in our world right now, anything we each can do to help out the little man is going to be much appreciated. Whether it’s an existing small business that’s just currently struggling or a totally new business born as a means of income during these Corona times, it’s important that we put our dollars where they actually matter. And plus, if you’re anything like me, you need a bunch of different masks to match all your different outfits, so it’s worth supporting a few of the small businesses from this list.
Images: @like1style / UNSPLASH; Thirty20; Righteous and Rich; United by Blue; Jaydee Studios; Flayr; CAAB Customs; NIGHT; Baliawear; Frank and Myrhh Shop; Zelda Boutique; Hackwith Design House; Sachi; Reuse Masks; KASH Queen; SACHIKA
As coronavirus continues to take over our lives, tank the stock market, and cause general panic across the globe, many of us are looking for ways to help. For those of us who aren’t literal doctors and nurses, finding a way to be useful can be difficult. One way normies like us can help people stay afloat during this crisis is by supporting small businesses.
With bars restaurants, and all non-essential businesses, some of our favorite mom and pops facing very serious financial implications of months without customers and inadequate federal support. With that in mind, here are some ways you can help support your favorite local and small businesses, all while staying the f*ck indoors for the greater good. New Yorkers specifically — if you’re looking for more information provided by The Partnership for NYC and Gov Andrew Cuomo, click here.
Tip Your Ass Off
We should all be tipping all the time, but in this time of crisis why not go ahead and add another 10% to your usual tip amount? Many major cities have moved to make all restaurants delivery or takeout only (NYC is letting restos sell you fancy cocktails to-go, too). If you take advantage of this option, adding a little bit more to your tip could help that delivery driver stay afloat until normal business resumes. Plus what good is stopping the pandemic if we don’t have any bars to go to at the end of all this?
Buy Some Gift Cards
This one is huge! By buying a pre-paid gift card or other merch from your favorite bars, restaurants, or stores, you’re giving those businesses money right now for services once they get back on track. It’s basically a mini loan you can give to your favorite brunch spot letting them know you’ll def be back for mimosas once all this sh*t is over. Which you will. Here’s a list of establishments that sell merch and gift cards in New York City. Try shooting your local haunt a DM to see if they can sell you a good meal a few months in advance.
Check Out Patreon
Have a favorite artist, writer, podcaster, or musician whose business might be affected by COVID-19? See if they have a Patreon page and sign up for a monthly contribution to help keep them afloat as their live shows, touring gigs, and freelance jobs are disrupted by the virus. As an added bonus, most Patreons have payment tiers that grant you exclusive access to content from the artist you support to help get you through the long days in self-isolation. It’s a win-win.
Don’t Cancel Your Membership
If you’re a member at a fitness studio that you absolutely love and you can afford it, consider not canceling your membership even while they are closed for coronavirus. While some of the big fitness studios might be able to weather the storm, smaller studios are going to be majorly affected if all their members cancel at once, and that goes double for your favorite instructors. If your studio is offering virtual classes, show your support by signing up so you can help keep instructors employed (and ward off the COVID 15 once you cave and eat all your quarantine supplies in one sitting).
Leave A Glowing Yelp Review (Or A Hundred)
In these days of Yelp, one shitty review from an irrationally enraged Karen who wanted a fork for her tuna handroll can drag down a small business’s overall rating and deter customers. Spend your quarantine leaving 5-star reviews for all your favorite local establishments so when people can visit your area again, they’ll spend their money there without hesitation.
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Image courtesy of Warner Bros.