April 6, 2020
Dear Ladies, new Ladies (and the rogue Gentlemen) of NAOMI NOMI,
I write to you from our home studio in Brooklyn. On my cutting table is our spring fabric -- fabric that was meant to make women’s work dresses, tanks and bike shorts. Now, that fabric is being cut into masks.
After working for the last two weeks to help secure PPE material for hospitals, on Thursday, we decided to shift gears and fulfill the request from our loyal customers to make personal, cotton masks. Since our studio is the 2nd bedroom of our apartment, we are never more than a few steps away from extra sample fabric and our stallion of a sewing machine, so we figured, why not? Based on our mailing list, and the number of direct requests, I estimated that I could personally make 100 masks, selling 50 and donating 50 to Masks4Medicine with each sale.
18 hours later, the CDC recommended every civilian begin using cotton masks in public, and our plan to make 100 masks quickly grew into a waiting list of 2,100 people requesting an estimated 10,000 masks. Things changed, so I’m back with answers:
Answers to our Frequently (m)Asked Questions
Updated as of May 13, 2020
If I already purchased a mask, when will I get it?
We have gotten the band back together again -- our family owned-and-run factory in the heart of the garment district as well as all of our independent contractors -- in order to fulfill all of our orders. Right now, if we release you from the waitlist you can expect your mask to ship in 10 days. We are working our absolute fastest to get these masks made and if we can ship sooner, trust us, we will.
If I’m on the waitlist, will I still get my mask?
Short answer: we’re working on it! We are now 5 weeks into production and things are moving faster every day. We are currently making about 1,200 masks per week, which means that including the 1:1 donations, we can send our clients about 600 masks each week. If you are on the waitlist, you will receive an email releasing you from the waitlist with your expected ship date.
Can I still join the waitlist?
Please do! Right now we have about 5,000 masks ahead of you, but we are working as fast as humanly possible to produce as many masks as we can without jeopardizing their quality, or the health and safety of our makers.
What will my mask look like?
Our first round of masks were made from donated NAOMI NOMI Japanese cotton oxford in Sky Blue or Soft Grey. But that fabric ran out quickly! Moving forward, we are offering two different options upon purchasing off the waitlist, at two different price points -- $18 for natural cotton muslin and another, slightly more expensive option with NAOMI NOMI designed fabrics. While we know no one needs Japanese cotton oxford, we have a feeling you might want it since these masks might become a daily companion for the foreseeable future.
Can I use a filter with my NAOMI NOMI mask?
Yes! Our masks are made from two layers of fabric, with a filter pocket inside.
How can I get a mask today?
We have a couple options for you. We spent the first two weeks of quarantine doing live tutorials on how anyone can make a mask at home, and we will continue with tutorials and instructions on how you can make a mask from any old t-shirt or pillowcase in the comforts of your Netflix binge. Keep an eye out for upcoming LIVE tutorials or watch our Instagram Highlights for step by step instructions.
Also, in a world before we were stuck in the confines of our homes and apartments, NAOMI NOMI focused on making brilliant and beautiful clothing for great women. Included in this are our magnificent silk scarves. The CDC has recommended that if you are not able to use a true mask, scarves are a great next option. These are available for immediate shipment. Snag one here.
What is Masks4Medicine?
Masks4Medicine is a group of NYC doctors who have banded together to help get PPE (both homemade and medical-grade) to those in need. For each mask NAOMI NOMI makes for you, we donate one to Masks4Medicine who will distribute across the New York City region to help alleviate the use of medical-grade masks when not necessary.
Why does it take so long to make masks? Aren’t they small and turnkey?
While these masks might be simple to make, it’s important to remember that people make clothing, not robots. And making things takes time. The only reason you can order a shirt on Amazon and have it delivered tomorrow is because someone six months ago sat down at a sewing machine and made it. Most garment production timelines are six to twelve months. Right now, we are working our asses off to make that a 10 day timeline.
Didn’t the masks start out at $10? What’s with the price jump?
When we originally put the masks for sale at $10, we were using leftover sample material and Naomi, the owner and only full-time employee, would be donating her own sewing labor. Her plan was to sew them all herself, donating 100% of her labor costs. Our factory typically charges $5 per mask, so she put the price at $10 (for 2) assuming that the company would be donating an estimated $1 in material and she would personally be donating $3-4 in her own labor.
But with 10,000 masks to make - Naomi needs help and the people who help can not work for free. The breakdown of the costs for each mask is as follows:
The labor costs of the cut and sew of each mask is $5
The material cost is $0.21
The labor costs to fulfill each order is $1.33
The logistical transport costs are each about $1.
Lastly, to package each mask is going to take $0.50 in supplies.
That means that each mask costs us $8.04 to make.
As a result, we have updated the price to $18-$25, i.e. $9 - $12.50 per mask since we are donating one with each purchase. With a margin that ranges from 11-29% depending on the fabric, we will most likely lose money on this endeavor. That is fine with us as our efforts are to support this fight and keep everyone safe(r).
How do I keep my mask clean?
Machine wash in cold water (delicate cycle) and tumble dry on low heat.
Don’t have a washing machine? Want to wash it more frequently? I personally wash mine in the shower every night and hang it near the window to dry for the morning. You can also wash it in the sink if you don’t want to shower with your mask on!