Being a Fashion Face + Giving Back.
A week after Ottawa went into lockdown, AboutFace Masks came into being as a kitchen table enterprise in Carp, Ontario.
Like the rest of the world, marketing communications consultant and journalist Julie Beun was staying safe by staying home. She had been tracking the pandemic’s evolution and realized that as it raced around the world, disposable face masks were becoming the new normal.
The new normal was not environmentally friendly, nor was it even vaguely fashionable.
“We can do better,” she thought.
So, she pulled out her sewing machine, rummaged through her stash of fabric and got to work. Through friends, she’d heard about Operation Ramizieh, a grassroots charity delivering food to vulnerable seniors and economically disadvantaged families. She sewed for two days straight and delivered 70 masks to be distributed with the emergency food aid.
“I can do more than this. But I need help,” she said to herself.
Durable and utterly fabulous.
Despite the very real challenge of sourcing fabric and polypropylene liner (a manmade fabric used in mask filters) during the lockdown, she improved the original pattern to be a more tailored, sleeker design in two adult sizes, later introducing kids’ masks. The result was a machine washable and dryable mask that could be used over and over.
After a second week of cutting, sewing and mailing masks on her own, help arrived. Long-time friend and graphic designer Lissa Constantine created a logo, set up an e-commerce store and strategized.
Locally made. Supporting local families.
AboutFace Masks is proud to include local seamstresses who had lost work due to the lockdown on the team. As a result, we don’t compete with mass-produced, cheap imported masks. We don’t even try. We firmly believe in doing the right thing for the right reasons – and that means helping your neighbours keep their businesses and livelihood afloat.
Plus, with every sale, masks are donated to Operation Ramizieh, vulnerable seniors and their families at Bruyere Village and Bruyere Clinic, as well as other charities.