How did you become interested in sewing? Where are you from? When did you begin making face masks? Is this your first business?
We became interested in sewing from our grandmother who is a wonderful seamstress. When COVID hit, we felt helpless watching the news on TV and wanted to give back to the community. With the PPE shortage, [making masks] just felt like the right thing to do. We grew up volunteering and giving back to the community.
We learned how to sew just a couple of months ago in March and found it was a great way to spend our newfound time when everything was cancelled! We live in Ashburn, VA and attend Rock Ridge High School but grew up in Fairfax County. This is our very first “accidental business.” We like to call it “accidental” because we didn’t really plan this, but it has grown quickly!
We started out just donating masks to first responders, the elderly and then our community started asking us to make masks. Then, local Chick-fil-A restaurants asked us to sew cotton cow fabric themed masks for a couple of restaurants and we suddenly were in business! We still maintain our original mission and vision of donating masks and are striving for a “one for one” model: for every mask purchased, we will donate a mask to the most vulnerable, focusing on youth cancer patients and disadvantaged youth.
2. What inspires your designs for face masks?
We like picking out fun uplifting cotton fabric, for example bright lemons, pink flamingos, and pretty flowers to inspire fun and hopefully put a smile on someone’s face–even if you can’t see it behind the mask. We know they are still smiling because a true smile is seen in the eyes. Also for the customized school logo masks – we love designing those for our friends within Loudoun County — even though school is now beginning with Distance Learning. We can still show school pride by wearing our school logos on masks in public. This really gives us HOPE and that is what we are all about!
3. What organizations have you provided masks to?
Hopes & Seams has already provided over 2,000 face masks to local programs and organizations such as Herndon Cares, Mobile Hope of Loudoun, Feed a Hero & Soup for the Elderly community based effort via Amphora Catering, HealthWorks for Northern VA (free clinic) , the INOVA Schar Cancer Institute, INOVA Loudoun Hospital, INOVA Children’s Hospital in Fairfax, VA, local Chick-fil-A restaurants, Georgetown MedStar Hospital, Retirement Communities, several pediatrician offices , NVOrthodonitcs, and The Navajo Indians who were hit hard, etc.
4. Can customers customize the design of their mask? If yes, what is the process for customization?
Yes! We encourage that. We have added customized machine washable and reusable “performance masks” that are breathable, lightweight and fit your face well with an adjustable strap. A customer can start by sending their vector file or ideas for a design and we can draft up an art proof. We have designed customized logos for the following Loudoun County schools: Rock Ridge High School, Independence High School, John Champe High School, Riverside High School, Briar Woods High School, Broad Run High School and we are in the process of bringing on additional schools.
5. Are your masks equivalent to N95? If no, what level of protection does your face mask offer?
Our Hopes and Seams masks meet the CDC guidelines of 2 ply, soft breathable mask that help slow the spread in addition to hand washing and social distancing. The extra option for our “performance” style mask has a pocket for a filter. Our masks are soft, machine washable and reusable and can help slow the spread of the virus, even though they are non-medical which is highly recommended by the CDC.
6. Where can customers purchase your masks? How can the public help support your efforts?
We would love support from our community in any way possible including :
1) Donate towards our mission via go fund me : https://www.gofundme.com/f/hopesandseams4u?sharetype=teams&member=4438298&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&rcid=2dfda8d808da4fffbb928172c194cdab
3) Support our Loudoun County High Schools and show school spirit by buying a school logo mask & in turn we will donate one on your behalf to those most vulnerable https://www.etsy.com/shop/hopesandseams4u/
3) Donate cotton fabric by the yard to help support our mission to continue to donate to those most vulnerable (email us for details via firstname.lastname@example.org)
4) Follow along our journey via instagram @hopes.and.seams or facebook @ hopesandseams https://m.facebook.com/hopesandseams/
Interview questions and editing by Jessica Monte. Answers by Sophia and Elie Clarke.