Small Sportswear Business Retools to Make Fabric Masks
As a response to COVID-19, Allen Sportswear joins a growing list of businesses redeploying their unique capabilities to meet the public's immediate needs
"When the NBA announced the suspension of the season, everyone else followed. Youth organizations canceled tournaments and games and soon thereafter, clients called to cancel orders. We spent sleepless nights figuring out how to keep the business going so our employees can continue to work for the sake of their families as well," said Todd Marinshaw. "After 15 years of working with youth sports teams and witnessing so many stories of resilience and rising above adversity, we knew we couldn't give up."
Inspiration struck when the production manager suggested using leftover sports uniform fabrics to make face masks for the employees and their families. The Marinshaws decided to take a page out of their clients' playbook and step up in this time of adversity.
"We decided to make as much as we can to hand out to friends and family who are first responders and essential workers, as well as to the homeless," said Tina Marinshaw. "That was a few weeks ago when face masks were still frowned upon by the general public so by the time the CDC officially recommended cloth masks, we had already perfected the pattern and fabrics we were using."
Allen Sportswear is now launching 3-ply fabric face masks with full nose to chin and cheek coverage. The primary difference between these masks and cheap 1-2 ply dust masks is that the inner layer uses a far superior fabric called quilter's cotton for filtration while the outer layer features a moisture-wicking, stay-dry polyester construction. The company also collaborated with personal contacts from the healthcare industry to develop a pattern that provides a snug fit coverage.
"This is the best-fitting cloth mask I've ever tried," said Elmine Beard, MSN, RN. "It's snug on the bottom and the nose bridge, so I don't have to worry about gaps letting in any particulates. Also, the strings on the top and bottom allow for adjustments according to face size."
The fabric masks' outer cover is fully customizable to encourage companies, stores, and other businesses to provide masks for their employees. The masks will also come in kids sizing to provide an opportunity for schools to provide them for students when schools reopen.
Masks are now available for bulk orders at www.allensportswear.com/
A LESSON IN RESILIENCE AND COMMUNITY....
The disabled veteran and minority-owned small business is no stranger to hardships but Todd Marinshaw credits their trusted network of lenders and vendors for being able to respond to this need and adapt to the market very quickly.
"The SBA's Payment Protection Plan and Debt Relief Programs are a lifesaver. While it was not easy to navigate, we are so grateful that smaller banks and lenders are really coming through for small businesses like us and are helping us not only to stay afloat and continue to keep making sports apparel but also to help meet the need for personal protective equipment like masks," he said. "Our partners at FedEx and UPS have helped us make domestic and international shipping as reliable and affordable as it can be in this time of limited flights and routes. Our CRM software, Salesforce, has also heeded our request for help. We know we all have a long and difficult road ahead to recovery but it is empowering to see the amount of support we are getting to be able to continue to do what we do best and make even a small impact. We are faithful we can all rise out of this adversity and hopefully, before we even know it, we will be back to playing and enjoying sports again."
About ALLEN SPORTSWEAR:
Based in Orlando, Florida, Allen Sportswear is an established team sportswear company that designs pro-quality customized team sports attire and uniforms. For 15 years, Allen Sportswear has utilized the best in sublimated, twill and embroidery technology to support clients in the AAU and USSSA circuits, professional leagues, Pop Warner leagues, high schools, and colleges, as well as corporate clients such as Busch Beer and Mountain Dew. Allen Sportswear merchandise has made appearances in Superbowl ads, Tyler Perry's "Meet the Browns" and the NBA Celebrity "ELeague." Allen Sportswear offers a proprietary uniform customizer that allows users to design sports apparel online and soon, to design custom face masks.
In addition to crafting high-quality masks, Allen Sportswear is gradually completing all sports uniform orders as government restrictions start to lift. As they continue to ensure the safety and health of their team members, the company is also getting ready to continue to make custom football uniforms as well as baseball, softball and basketball uniforms. Beyond providing high-quality uniforms and sports apparel, Allen Sportswear has also given back to communities through sponsorships, partnerships with non-profits and philanthropy efforts.