When Judith Pomposo opened her printing and design business, Unique Impressions, in 2008 she didn’t expect that she’d be producing much-needed face masks during a global pandemic one day. When the time came, though, Judith pivoted her operations to help those in need. This is how she did it and how it could inspire your business right now.
The Call To Help
Judith started Unique Impressions as an expert in the field of graphic design. With 16 years of graphic design teaching experience and knowledge in a wide variety of different printing styles, such as silkscreen and digital printing, she applied these first-hand skills to her California-based business.
This skillset didn’t only allow her to design one product; Judith designs products from beginning to end, helping her clients understand the full design process for their products. It also allows her and her team to move into different printing styles and processes, quickly.
More recently, Judith witnessed firsthand how COVID-19 was impacting her community, but also communities across the world. When the CDC released recommendations that not only healthcare workers, but everyone, should protect themselves with a face mask, she knew she could help. Judith decided to reallocate her raw materials and printing resources towards the production and distribution of face masks.
Since she started, Unique Impressions has made almost 30,000 non-medical face masks that have been shipped to various locations across the country. At this time, she is focusing her efforts on the production of face masks for essential workers and their families across the country. Her team is working hard to release new cloth and disposable masks to communities in need. You can stay up-to-date on those developments on Unique Impressions’ Instagram account.
The Importance Of Face Masks
Face masks were recently listed by the CDC as an effective, additional way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They shouldn’t be used in place of medical grade masks, but they can slow transmission rates, provide another layer of protection, and they act as a reminder to not touch the face. Finally, cloth or DIY face masks allow medical grade equipment to stay with the healthcare teams who need them most.
Because of this, the CDC recommends that everyone wear a cloth face mask in public settings, especially when social distancing is difficult.
Judith at Unique Impressions knew that those in essential services needed these masks most. Police, firefighters, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, and others who interact with the public need as much protection as possible. Healthcare workers in communities that are especially hard-hit also need these masks when medical-grade masks are unavailable.
Like Judith, many other fashion and clothing businesses have pivoted to producing face masks to meet this immediate and unprecedented need. From shoe brands to suit designers, there are dozens of examples of companies now turning their raw materials and unused products into face masks. Stores on the online marketplace Etsy have also followed suit. At last count, over 20,000 Etsy stores were selling face masks. Nonprofits have also joined, mobilizing communities with at-home sewing lessons and resources.
How Can Your Business Help?
Across the world, businesses are responding to their community’s needs in creative and inspiring ways. Like Judith at Unique Impressions, consider how your company’s skillsets, resources, and raw materials could go towards helping others and meeting community needs right now. Many businesses also choose to pay it forward by making a donation for each purchase. This gives your company a new revenue stream that could help it stay afloat and keep employees working during this challenging time.
Consider these examples of businesses who are adapting to COVID-19 in impactful ways (and find even more examples in a previous post!):
- Employee training company, EdgePoint Learning, released a free eLearning course that can help employees adapt to their new work-at-home routines
- Thoughtful Human and BetterHelp Therapy are partnering up to offer a free month of therapy from licensed therapists to help people mentally cope during this time
- Massachusetts internet provider, CTC, is offering free internet upgrades to handle increased work-at-home traffic, as well as free WIFI hotspots
- Nantucket Culinary Center is preparing and cooking pre-ordered family meals, and donating a meal to a family in need with every meal bought
- The Mt. Royal Soap Company and Charm City Meadworks are getting together to produce 25,000 units of hand sanitizing spray for correctional facilities and police departments
- Salad and Go is offering free food to workers affected by this crisis; for example, grocery workers get free food on Tuesdays and healthcare workers on weekends
Companies across sectors and industries are drawing on their creative talents and resources to truly meet the needs of their communities.
Tools To Make It Possible
In 2018, Judith reached out to PaySimple for help with Unique Impressions’ existing payment collection process. Our PaySimple teams helped her open a dedicated merchant account for credit card processing. This helped her streamline her entire payment collection process, saving both her and her customer’s time. When she began face mask production, Judith pointed to this earlier decision as key to being able to quickly pivot into creating these new products and getting them to the people who needed them most.
With PaySimple, Unique Impressions is able to manage order data, organize customer information, and accept payments in one easy-to-use tool. It also gives her insights into cashflow and other essential data during this unprecedented time.
Right now, we’re all in this together. If you need to quickly start offering online payments or email invoicing, our team can help you find fast and affordable options. We also encourage you to make use of our COVID-19 business resource page, with comprehensive information about the SBA CARES Act and more small business help.
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