Fishman's Personal Care Cleaners teamed up with the local Facebook volunteer initiative, 'Mask Makers YYC', to help the essential workers in the community. The Mask Maker initiative gathers fabrics, sews, and delivers masks to essential workers all over the city. I got on the phone with Tasha Fishman to talk about the initiative, how they have been apart of it, and how her business is evolving!
Someone sent me a video called 'Masks for All' from the Czech Republic, and it was so inspiring. I knew that we wanted to be involved in something like it, mainly because we specialize in textiles and we saw it as an opportunity to give back. When I heard about Mask Makers YYC, I reached out to them immediately, letting them know we wanted to help. Since then, we have become a hub for accepting donated fabrics.
It's a collective of efforts, we receive the donated fabric, pre-wash, and deliver the materials to the Designer Choice Resource Centre. They then cut down all the fabric into mask shaped pieces. The mask pieces are then delivered to the volunteers to sew them together with wiring and strings. Other businesses have come together to streamline the efforts including Dress for Success, a team that helps underprivileged women, collecting cash donations from people who want to help but don't have sewing skills. These donations go towards buying new fabrics. It's been a great collaboration!
We are currently providing alteration services for frontline workers, including Police Services and EMS. There are a lot of people who haven't been out in twenty years and need to get back into uniform. We have been connecting with customers and letting them know that we can help if they need it. We are already out and about in the city doing deliveries, so we can pick up any pre-paid essential items for those that need assistance.
Our goal is to be there for people, so anyone that is in isolation, immunocompromised, or older and doesn't want to go out, we can help them. As businesses begin to open, people will likely have to wear masks and will need cleaning services. We're looking into ways we can support that need with PPE and sanitization.
Use this time to pivot, grind, and recalibrate. Now is the time for finding new ways of conducting business, which can be uncomfortable but do it anyway. I think that collaboration is essential! Figure out who is in your supply chain, and in your neighbourhood... there are so many businesses that are trying to figure out how to change right now, you never know who could be a good fit as a partner or make for a great collaboration. I guess above all else, hang in there!