How an idea sparked in May has led me down my latest creation.
New York quarantine was hardcore, no one was outside unless they were essential workers. As the months started to warm up and things felt a little safer people were going out to their local businesses and dining outdoors. It was then, in May, that I saw a post from my fabulous friend Cara, The Champagne Diet. She posted a picture of herself supporting her local restaurant with a mini bottle of champagne and her caption read something like, she wished someone would invent a mask with a straw hole to drink cocktails. That's when it hit me! I want to make a mask that is fashionable, luxurious, fun, glam and functional. I worked in luxury fashion for years and I'm pretty familiar with the market and the consumer.
I started to make some calls to my contacts. A lot of the designers at the time were creating masks for hospitals. As the months rolled by I was becoming more anxious. I really want to do this, I felt it deep in my soul. It was that intense. I asked my best friend if he could sew, then I asked another friend. I have the idea but I can't sew. Months passed and I ended up going back to work in June after working from home. Then in July I lost my job, I revamped my website and blog. I now can dedicate myself to my blog and the things I love to share, however I couldn't stop thinking about my mask design. I started to see luxury designers jump into the mask market. I started to see smaller brands create masks with straw holes. I thought that's it, I lost out. Then I called my friend Jan Vincent Gonzales again. He has his own company with his with his namesake. I trust him and his vision. He works with young designers with enormous talent. His company JAN VINCENT GONZALES is a global Filipinx creative consultancy. His mission is to empower and promote Filipinx talent in the global markets to shift the cultural zeitgeist surrounding creativity.
I've been driving him crazy for months. He texted me back and told me he knows a young lady that designs masks. He made the introduction via email and then we met the next day. Her name is Carla and her brand is Hiraya By Carla. I checked out her instagram and I loved her designs. We met for lunch and the next thing I knew 4 hours passed. She told me what her brand name meant "Hiraya" - Fruits of one's hope, dreams and inspiration. She was the one, I wanted to work with her. I sent her my sketch and told her what my vision was and in a week we had our first prototype. We worked for months and not only did she see my vision, she made it better. It was the perfect collaboration and I wouldn't have been able to do it without Jan's help.
I launched my masks on Small Business Saturday and I was excited, nervous, and scared. I posted my pictures, videos, messaged my friends and my phone started to buzz. It was exactly what I wanted for my customer, a mask that was fashionable, elegant and could be worn when they were dressed up. I created my Champagne Only inspired by Cara and of course Chocolate Only since my addition is real. I know there are others with my addictions. I also decided that one must have a pearl chain for their mask or sunglasses so I decided to sell that as well. If you are going to be fabulous you have to go all in.
I'm in the works for a few other sayings as well as different colors. It's only been two days but the feedback has been heartwarming and overwhelming. The work doesn't stop and although it is a lot I am having fun with my new venture. I can't wait to continue to work with Carla. P.S. You have to check her own mask designs as well. They are gorgeous!
Masks are silk with secured flap, and adjustable straps. The masks are available for purchase and the pearl chain for mask/sunglasses is sold separately. It will be shipped via USPS anywhere in the United States and Puerto Rico. You can message me on instagram or you can send me a message via my contact form.