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Covid: What will mask makers do now?
Tuesday, 20 July 2021 - 14:35 | Views - 604

While the easing of restrictions is great news for many small businesses, it means one group of people - those who have made and sold face masks in the past year - have to look for a new way to make money.

Lockdown came with a new swell of community spirit and many people turned to local and independent sellers for things such as masks.

A lot of entrepreneurs began making and selling them online, and doing good business as a result.

 

So what next for the people who've made money selling them during the pandemic?

 

'I quit my job to do this full time'

At the start of lockdown, Amelia Terry's office job was cut down to three days a week.

It gave her time to reconsider. "I always wanted to set up my business, and that was an opportunity,"

 

Although normally based in Bristol, she was at her boyfriend's parents' house in the Lake District in the first lockdown, and had to order all the materials there.

"Luckily, they have a sewing machine. But I was in their living room and I just had stuff everywhere," she says.

"Looking back, it was so fun and kind of crazy that I just did that from their living room.

"I feel bit bad about it - I made an absolute mess."

After some trial and error, Amelia came up with the mask design and began advertising on her Instagram page and Etsy.

She was getting a few sales, but it wasn't until July 2020 that sales really took off.

"As soon as masks became compulsory and demand went up loads, that's when I realised: 'Actually, this is possible. It's not just a side project'."

Amelia sold about 600 masks in total, including to people in US, Australia and Canada.

 

After a few months, she quit her main job to do it full time - but she knew the mask business wouldn't last forever.

By the time she set up full-time in January 2021, Amelia had stopped selling masks.

She's moved on to selling prints of untranslatable words with their English definitions, as well as wire flowers which you can send as gifts in the post.

While she now says her job satisfaction is so much higher, she admits there are some difficulties with starting a small business.

"It's so isolating when you're working for yourself, by yourself, and you don't talk to anyone. It's enough to go crazy."

 

 

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