Founded in 2002, the Seattle-based company SwaddleDesigns is best known for creating swaddle blankets to help new parents get their babies to sleep. The blankets, stylish, innovative, and comfy, were the brain child of Lynette Damir, CEO and Creative Director of SwaddleDesigns, and, most importantly, a mom AND a registered nurse.
Now, the story of this company could have ended right there, but then earlier this year the entire world was hit with the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing us all to come to terms with such phrases as "social distancing", "sheltering at home", "six feet away", and the all-important "face masks." Seemingly overnight, life as we know it turned into this:
And just like that, Damir and her company went from making baby blankets to also making face masks (specifically, non-medical cloth face masks). Says Damir: "I started to review published studies that compared the filtration effectiveness of different fabrics. I knew I could do better than the bandana or scarf that was recommended." So this past March, the CEO spent several days designing, fine tuning, and test fitting her design. The end result was a well-fitting mask that would stay secure and remain comfy.
Switching her Seattle production facility from baby blanket production to face masks, SwaddleDesigns created a 2-layer cotton mask made from USA Cotton Flannel that not only filters airborne particles, but is also soft, light weight, and breathable, as well as being machine washable. "With the CDC recommendation for the general public to wear non-medical cloth masks," says Damir, "many people are sharing DIY mask instructions and patterns, but many Americans do not have a sewing machine." And that's where SwaddleDesigns comes in.
The masks come in 15 different designs for adults, and they even sell masks for children (two years to pre-teen) that come in nine different designs, with all of them being reversible. The company also offers bulk orders (at a discount) for schools and businesses, as well as offering customization to add school or business logos. They even offer a guide that helps you select the correct size masks. ("Wearing a face mask is a new experience for most of us, and it can take a little getting used to. It is a very personal item and we understand that comfort as well as good fit are important," states Damir.)
SwaddleDesigns has actually hired additional employees to keep up with their face mask demand. "Initially, we were donating masks, and I've donated all that I can afford, " explains Damir. "Being a small business, I still have the materials and sewists to make more. We are doing our best to keep up."
Now more than ever it's important to fully stop this pandemic so we can very soon (fingers crossed) go back to some sense of normalcy (remember normalcy?). Masks can help that. As Damir states: "I wear a mask to protect you. You wear a mask to protect me. Together, we will STOP COVID-19."
Currently, SwaddleDesigns sells not only individual masks, but offers wholesale discounts for those who wish to purchase 100 or more. For more info, visit SwaddleDesigns HERE.