Small business thrives amid COVID-19

—As demand for face masks increase

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Some small businesses are thriving despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Fabric designers, seamstress and tailors are finding more work that they would have expected as the demand for face mask increase.

On Wednesday, DPI spoke to Artists and English Teacher Lou Ann Lewis-Jackson who has been operating a fabric design business for many years and recently witnessed an unexpected boom for a specific item in her product line – “Face Masks”.

Lewis-Jackson, a fulltime English teacher at a private school in the city, practices her craft during her free time.

“I am teaching online, fulltime, (during the COVID-19 restricted period), and that is quite demanding, it’s more work than when you are in the classroom, but in between and in the evening, I practice my Art. Right now, art consists of making masks,” she explained.

After pondering about the current state of affairs in the world, Lewis-Jackson wondered what she could do to aid in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic here in Guyana.

After hearing recommendations that persons should wear face masks when venturing outdoors, she realised what she could offer.

“I started making a couple and I posted them on Facebook and that was it, the orders started coming in and I had to question if I still could to do this,” Lewis-Jackson stated.

Luckily, she said she knew someone always on stand-by who would help her with sewing. And the opportunity, though birthed out of unfortunate circumstances, was perfect.

“My friend’s business is a bit on the decline because of the current state of affairs, so she has a lot of time.  She said ‘you know what I am thinking how to make some money’, so I told her well we will make masks,” Lewis-Jackson shared.

The Artist has thus far made masks for many cooperate entities, as well as private citizens, and despite of the cost of material and detailed workmanship, Jackson says the masks are being sold at a reasonable price.

They come in sizes ranging from children to adults and have been constructed specifically to guard against the coronavirus.

“The masks are four layers of fabric; I did some research on the virus and spoke to a scientist friend of mine. The virus clings to the fabric so I figured if I used four layers it has a lot more to find its way through. As someone who studies textile art, I know if you cut the fabric under-cross it will change the whole course of anything trying to get through the fabric,” Lewis-Jackson explained.

She recommends frequent washing of masks, and for persons who must wear their mask more frequently than others, she advises having more than one.

For more information on Jackson and her specially constructed masks, you can find her on Facebook;