Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The LilyGirl MASKerade: More than just another mask

When the mandate to close down public spaces came to California in mid-March, it was devastating to my business.  For the past twelve years, the weekly Little Italy Mercato had been my livelihood in many ways.  Offering my jewelry, connecting with people, and feeling the camaraderie with my family of vendors was my life!  This shutdown affected me, all the farmers, the specialty food vendors, and the artists.  For the first time in the twenty-five years that I'd been self-employed, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to support myself.

I made jewelry anyway, finding peace and joy in the process.  I created a collection called It's the Little Things in hopes I'd spark some happiness in my customers.

Then I launched a few Jeweled Mandala Kits, thinking this is what my customers needed, a way to stay in the moment, to be present and calm.  Sales were coming in via the website and I felt supported, but they were slow.

My team and I worked hard to keep things going.  I also took time each day to meditate and try to connect to something bigger than myself.  I asked the universe to show me what to do.

When masks started becoming a part of our new and ever-changing lives, I felt the desire to make them and to make them stylish.  I remembered some batik fabric that I had bought years ago merely because I loved the vibrant color combinations. They had just been sitting in a box waiting for the right moment.  I thought, "the moment is NOW!"

I showed my mom the fabric and shared my desire to create these beautiful batik masks, and she took it from there, even coining the phrase "Join the MASKerade," which I thought was perfect!  All my life she had sewn for me, from little girly dresses to my prom dresses.  My sister encouraged us to go for it as a way to keep LilyGirl afloat while offering an essential item to our loyal and loving customers.
And so the LilyGirl MASKerade was born.  Mom came over and helped me turn that fabric into our first thirty or so masks.  Then a neighbor who found out what we were doing pulled out a box of fabrics she'd picked up in Indonesia years ago.  Another neighbor lent me a second sewing machine so we could work faster.

I'm so grateful for the people who have helped me along the way.  My mom for her brilliant MASKerade idea and help sewing, my sister for believing in us, my team of helpers, the friends who first bought the masks and who have always supported my business, and my generous neighbors.

I love the masks we're making and the work we're doing and how it all came about.  And I love working with my mom and seeing her have a new sense of purpose. She feels so proud of our accomplishments.  These masks have been a lifeline in so many ways and I couldn't be more pleased.  I'm back at the Mercato, selling only masks for now.  I feel so loved and supported.

Thank you! Thank you!

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