MONTEGO BAY, St James – A popular Jamaican saying, ‘tun yuh hand mek fashion’, can aptly describe the innovativeness of female western Jamaica entrepreneurs Trishannie Austin and Sabrina Campbell-Reid.
With masks now in high demand due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the duo has been using their skills to produce fashionable face masks.
Campbell-Reid from Simply Holistic Creationz, who is also an Immigration Officer, told the Jamaica Observer West that she recognised the need for creating masks as soon as she heard about the novel coronavirus.
“As I work at the airport and realised that the COVID-19 would eventually reach our shores, I saw the need to protect myself and my family members as best as I could, while still keeping in line with my eco-friendly theme,” said Campbell- Reid.
“Late January, I started doing research on how to make these reusable masks and early sFebruary,
the 8th to be exact, I made my first mask and started promoting it on Instagram, and to my friends and co-workers.”
Acknowledging that the masks do not have the full capability of the N95 masks, she argued that “some protection is better than no protection”.
“My belief is that any protection is better than no protection at all. Lots of people are asymptomatic, these [masks] act as a barrier when coupled with safety measures such as hand washing, social distancing and staying out of public unless you have to. It prevents you touching your nose and mouth,” she pointed out.
“Also, studies have shown that if everyone wears a mask, even if it is a home-made one construction in the proper way, it keeps down many people from becoming infected.”
Savannah Williams, one of Campbell-Reid’s customer, was ecstatic about her purchase.
“I love it. And the fact that the soft material is inside makes it feel nice on my face, really great,” said Williams.
Meanwhile, Trishannie Austin from Astidesignz, explains that she initially made masks for her family due to the pandemic, and posted it, then the orders started to roll in.
“With this worldwide crisis [COVID-19] and a shortage of N95 masks, I saw the need to make some homemade masks. So, I started with my little family, then persons started placing orders,” she told the Observer West.
When asked if the masks have are similar to the N95, she stated that even though they do not have the full capability, they provide some form of protection against the virus.
“It doesn’t provide superior protection as the N95, but it does provide some level of protection, mainly helping to avoid infecting others,” she argued, noting that my home-made masks are made from 100 per cent cotton.
“There is an outer layer, inner layer and a middle layer that are made from non-woven fabric which acts as a filter. My masks are reuseable and I recommend that my clients wash them after each use.”
Christene Soutar, who purchased one of the masks, is satisfied with her purchase.
“It’s good, very breathable and very fashionable as well,” she said, of her mask.
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