Made in USA. Made with impact in mind.
At KNOWN SUPPLY, making new products is not something we take lightly. Before any new item is introduced for sale we consider whether we can deliver on our mission of providing meaningful employment, producing something sustainably and sharing the story of the makers.
As mentioned in this previous post we were initially against the idea of producing face coverings, in large part because we didn’t see how we could accomplish our above mission while our global fair trade partners were not operating. And time was of the essence as requirements for cloth face coverings were being put in place across the nation.
So, we made a few calls around to our local partners — those who occasionally sew on labels, screen print or embroider our products — to see if they were exploring ways to pivot their operations and keep people employed.
That’s when we learned about the incredible work of our friends at HPO embroidery…
Like so many small businesses, their jobs for embroidery and silk screening had completely dried up due to the pandemic. As a result, they had no work for their team and they were effectively going to have to shut down everything for the foreseeable future. But then they decided to get creative…
Repurposing and revitalizing some sewing machines they had on hand, they were able to set up a small sewing line to begin producing cloth face coverings. When we connected with them they were in the early stages of getting these made improving their processes.
As a result they were able to bring back 15 people to work full-time making these items. That’s 15 people in our community who would otherwise be out of work, but are currently employed because of these face coverings and the incredible support of our community.
The next question we had was what fabric to use. Since sustainability is such a core part of what makes KNOWN SUPPLY product special we didn’t want to compromise by utilizing just any fabric we could get our hands on. Instead, we decided to look at our own inventory and considering clothing styles that had odd sizing or were made in past seasons.
We recognized the opportunity to turn these existing clothing items into brand new masks. As anyone who cares about sustainability knows, repurposing fabrics that were already made is one of the absolute best things you can do.
Lastly, we wanted to introduce you to the people behind these new KNOWN SUPPLY face coverings. Below, meet 7 of the makers who are sewing these masks and know the impact of your purchase is putting these women to work. Isn’t that an incredible feeling btw?!
If you would like to write a note to these incredible makers, please leave a comment below!
Photos by Foxes and Wolves.