With over 300 handmade face masks sold over the past three months, you might be surprised to know that Valerie (@tiffzty) is not a seamstress. In fact, she didn’t own a proper sewing machine until a month into making masks.
“I first started making masks not to make a living, but because my two children didn’t like any mask that I’d bought for them. So I sourced for cute fabrics and tried many versions, before I settled on the design and material that are most comfortable for them to wear for long hours. To my surprise, all my friends and family also started asking for these masks,” said Valerie. When she started listing them for sale on Carousell, her orders increased and her mother bought her a new sewing machine to keep up with the orders.
This has been a surprising source of income as Valerie had not been able to work for the past three months since Singapore went into the circuit breaker period which halted non-essential services. “I am a full-time makeup artist. I’d lost all my gigs and with that, all my sources of income,” said Valerie.
While she focuses mainly on making comfortable masks for children (and their parents who want family sets), Valerie has also incorporated elements of her full-time job by creating wedding face masks for the bride and groom. “Physical solemnisation was allowed to continue, but the bride and groom had to wear masks. I thought it’ll be a great idea to make matching ones with their suits and gowns”, said Valerie.
Selling masks has also been memorable with happy buyers sharing feedback. “I am very excited when I receive pictures of families wearing my mask. Also, when clients tell me how their child who refuses masks would actually want to wear my masks and not take them off, it makes me very proud because I know how hard it is to make children wear it for long periods of time. Disposable or ill fitting masks can be restrictive and difficult to breathe in.” said Valerie.
With the Singapore government loosening measures from 19 June, Valerie is able to return to her full-time job. She shares, “I’ll continue selling for a while more. Instead of taking pre-orders, I might make whenever I can and sell what is available. It would be easier to manage my time with work.”