Earlier this month, I got invited to a “Masked Event” — an open house for Compass agent Annalee Aston’s new Preston Hollow listing. The hook? Attendees could enter to win a Hermès or Cartier fabric-inspired mask designed by home décor maven Bernadette Schaeffler. Her line: The Bernadette Schaeffler Collection masks.
As a former fashion writer, I admit I was intrigued. Annalee’s email had me at “Hermès-inspired.” Who needs designer shoes and handbags during a pandemic? Chic masks are what’s trending now.
According to GQ, masks are here to stay. As demand grows, so does opportunity.
Just ask Chris Blackburn and Andrew Gilbert, owners of Texas Counter Fitters (purveyors of stone and granite countertops). The pair entered the mask-making business with a simple intention: wanting to help their Garland neighbors during a time of crisis. Their company, CVR Up, got its start donating face coverings to the Garland Fire Department and other local first responders.
Word spread quickly. In just a month and a half, website sales topped the 13,000 mark.
“Being in the countertop business, we understand production. We know how to streamline the process,” says Blackburn. “What we didn’t expect was how quickly the business was going to grow.”
For Schaeffler, the goal was not to furlough any employees. Her burgeoning scarf-to-mask venture now supports three seamstresses.
“The Hermès styles sell out the minute I put them up on the website,” she says.
“It’s funny how a crisis can inspire creativity.”
Each mask is made from a designer dust cover. Response was off the charts.
A recent Instagram post of Craig’s Chanel-logoed mask garnered a staggering 24,891 views.
“We’re getting orders from all over the country,” says Khanh.
Texas designer Suzy Smith uses upcycled Lilly Pulitzer fabrics for her newly-launched Preppy Masks. Pink Palms and Mosaic Dolphins are just two of her colorful designs.
At the upper end of the spectrum, retail veteran Ed Shaikh offers masks made of 100 percent Italian cotton shirting to his style-savvy Hadleigh’s clientele.
A custom monogrammed version is available by special order. Shaikh also gifted one to every Hadleigh’s VIP .
“If you’re wearing a $10,000 suit and driving a Bentley, your mask should reflect the same level of style,” he says. “Plus, we’re making people smile again.”