I know a lot of people who are following medical guidelines to make cloth masks as a little side business. What a fantastic idea!
It helps ensure we all have access to protective equipment (and feel a little stylish wearing it). Sewing is also a great way to make some extra money every month—that's what I did in college!
Like a lot of people, I learned to sew in high school Home Economics. When I went off to college, I had to work multiple jobs to pay tuition. I had an office job. But when I went in, I saw everyone had all these fancy clothes.
I didn't grow up with much, and my sisters and I shared whatever nice clothes the family had. So I put my Home Ec skills to work and sewed myself some nice office clothes.
My clothes caught the eye of my coworkers and classmates. They were all wondering what brand I was wearing. I told them Joyce Elliott!
Just like that, a side-business was born. I could make a whole outfit overnight that would be ready to sell the next day. It really was a business. I opened up a layaway account with a fabric store to buy in bulk to keep up with demand. Want to know my secret? Bulk fabric is expensive, but buying nice, colorful bedsheets was much cheaper!
I made tops, hats, and even bridesmaid dresses. And I was able to pay my way through college.
To all the hardworking people out there under financial pressure and making masks (or otherwise starting a new venture): I see you, and I promise to do whatever I can in office to support you.
America will recover from this. Now, we have the chance to make sure all Americans—no matter their industry—are recognized and included in the recovery.