Helping in the Community

Posted by Carolyn Laidley Arn on

As a fairly prolific mask maker, I keep my eyes open for opportunities to donate masks or provide them to folks that could benefit from a good quality mask. Last week Backyard Studios donated 108 individually wrapped Backyard Studios masks to the Thorncliffe Park community (TNO) through a neighborhood friend that was collecting masks, sanitizer and cleaning products. The donations provided by the community I live in were overwhelming and I was honoured to be a part of it.  

In the early stages of the pandemic, I dusted off my old sewing machine and used the basic sewing skills I had to make and donate as many masks as I could.  It was never intended to be more than that.  Wanting to use beautiful high quality fabrics and materials meant thousands of dollars spent at a time that art sales were non existent because all shows were cancelled and my day job leasing office space was not too relevant.

Mask making turned into a (second) full time job that I’m at 7 days a week and often working late at night. Selling masks is a way to keep the business going so that I can be paid for my time and materials and still donate to causes that need them. I have and continue to do a tremendous amount of research on masks and their effectiveness and happen to believe based on feedback and construction materials that I make a really good quality mask. The pleated mask style I make for adults and kids isn’t as common as it involves more work and materials, but it is preferred by many.

I haven’t kept count but based on the number of bits and pieces ordered I figure I’m nearing 1500. And on my third sewing machine as the first didn’t last long and I have a backup for the times that one needs a repair or service.

I sew every mask myself and never intend to grow the business by getting others to sew the masks.  My goal is to donate 1 for every 4 masks I sell.  This year i added masks to family hampers, provided two masks per child to a full class of kids in a low income school in Scarborough, sent masks for distribution to select church members in Quebec through a relative and provided to individuals in need locally. In the early summer I did a 50 black mask giveaway including one in each order and asking the recipients to find someone in the community that needed one, at a time masks were very hard to find.  It meant a greater reach and also raised awareness of community needs.  I will continue to donate masks so please feel free to reach out to me if you know of someone that could benefit from a Backyard Studio mask  

If you need to replenish your mask inventory, all of the masks on the website are in stock and available immediately. By buying Backyard Studios masks you’ll allow me to keep helping others. 

Happy 2021 and I truly look forward to the time when we don’t need masks anymore. 🙏🏻

Best Wishes, Carolyn 

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