Wearing is Caring- making flower power masks during lockdown

Posted by Alev Ozturk on

Keeping creative during lockdown

At this time of the year I would usually be dreaming up some new designs for SJW Bags, and travelling to Istanbul to put them in work with the skilled local artisans and leather craftsmen there. 

However, with global travel restrictions and lockdown preventing people from going further than their local Tesco, now didn’t seem like the best time to start designing new handbags. 

After seeing a lot of discarded single- use masks on my daily walks through St John’s Wood, it made me realise a face mask was suddenly the summer ‘must wear’ item everyone actually needed, and was perhaps a way for me to keep creative and busy while providing something useful to my customers. 

Adding a little flower power

Once over the initial strangeness of seeing everyone wearing masks, it struck me how boring and functional they all looked - I wanted to spread some love and share some of the bright colour and pattern SJW Bags is famous for.

Putting my manufacturing knowledge and contacts to good use, I found a UK supplier and had washable, reusable masks made using pretty remnant fabrics, to keep my friends, family and loyal customers safe, without harming the environment. 

Distanced, not distant

Initially I sent these out as gifts to my friends and family abroad, as a little reminder that we are distanced but not distant from each other. 

I sent my first batch of masks all over the world, and have absolutely loved seeing photos of them bringing some flower power to their socially distanced shopping trips and daily walks- on the streets of Switzerland, USA and all over the world. I wanted to share the love with my customers too, so I have been offering individual masks included with every purchase from my website. Friends and customers have been enthusiastically tagging me in their photos so I can see them all looking happy and healthy in their new masks too.


Wearing is caring

While many fabric shops are still closed, friends and customers have been suggesting alternative sources for remnant fabric supplies, so I have been able to increase my small batch production runs to meet demand. With deliveries becoming more reliable as lockdown eases, I am happy to announce my masks are now available to purchase on my website in packs of 5, with 50% of proceeds going to the St John’s Hospice.

 

St John’s Hospice is an independent charity based in my local area that offers free palliative care to more than 4,000 terminally-ill patients and their families every year. With the health and well being of everyone’s families a big concern just now, I wanted to try and help people that are part of the most at risk group. I chose St John’s Hospice because I have many friends in the area who volunteer at this amazing local institution, and wanted to help them with donations from SJW Bags sales. Over 150 years old, St John’s Hospice have been giving care to people in my community for a long time and I am happy to give something back to say thank you for the wonderful service and support they give.

If you want to read more about the charity and how they help people you can visit their website here

 


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