Small Firms Nimbly Pivoted to Face Masks

(p. R3) The humble face mask has proved to be a lifesaver not just by slowing Covid-19—but by helping small businesses.

Countless companies in dire straits during the lockdown have turned to masks to generate revenue. A lot of them have gotten into the niche from very diverse backgrounds. And, for some, mask sales haven’t only helped them survive but also driven their earnings higher than they were before Covid.

Here’s a look at some businesses that took a big gamble on masks—and saw it pay off.

. . .

Before the pandemic, custom-furniture maker David Halbout had a small but stable income and a waiting list stretching about four months. Within a week of the lockdown, though, his business came to a halt because he couldn’t meet customers to discuss the job or go to their home to work on projects. Almost all of his orders were canceled within days.

. . .

Facing that situation—and seeing the need that medical workers faced for protective equipment—the couple decided to turn their Red Bank, N.J., business to making masks. “We wanted to use our talents to help, so we started making fabric face masks with ties and elastic around the head,” says Mr. Halbout.

It turns out that the design was a hit for an unexpected niche. Because his products don’t interfere with hearing aids like traditional straps do, people who use the medical devices flocked to the masks, says Mr. Halbout. He estimates that his business, French Fix LLC, has sold 20,000 masks and donated another 3,000. Mr. Halbout says that he is making substantially more money from the masks, which start at $10.99 for children and $17.99 for adults, than he did from furniture.

. . .

Even so, “the core of my business stayed the same: I am still a creative person,” says Mr. Halbout. “I still design and I still work with my hands. I now work with fabric rather than wood.”

For the full story, see:

Elizabeth Garone. “The Lucrative Pivot to Making Face Masks.” The Wall Street Journal (Thursday, June 03, 2021): R3.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 2, 2021, and has the title “4 Entrepreneurs Who Found Big Money in Face Masks During Covid.”)

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