Another moment to be thankful for all the brilliance and resilience of small businesses throughout the U.S.A. In this case, California - our Golden State - home to family-owned and operated High Seas Trading Co. I was fortunate enough to meet this family-owned and -operated father and son duo some years ago at the Port of San Diego's Day at the Docks. I was already supporting Made in the U.S.A. and Made in California through many of my travels and online posts. I was thrilled to acquire High Seas Trading Co. California-branded shirts including Historic Highway 101 and California Missions.
When a random post brought their latest endeavor to my attention, I replied to owner Terrill Agnew and was so honored that he remembered our meeting. And thankful that I can return the honor by helping them promote their newest Made in the U.S.A./California project.
Here's what Terrill had to say about his company's jump to help make face masks during this crisis and providing employment:
March 25, 2020
"And just like that, my shirt factory has shifted production, retooled, and is making much needed face masks for hospitals and clinics. We are all proud to be part of the effort in the Corona Virus fight to provide protective gear to doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, who in my eyes are the front line soldiers in this global crisis.
They are working hard under extreme stress to adapt daily to the new protocols that the pandemic has caused and to protect themselves and the most at risk patients and sadly are short critical gear. It’s unbelievable, worldwide demand has more surged a 1000% , if not more. All supplies and surpluses have been depleted and overseas suppliers have a Covid 19 crisis in their own countries and their respective governments are requiring them to supply their own needs.
On Saturday morning, head of my production said hospitals are making video pleas for face masks of high thread count tightly woven cotton which is material we use for our Aloha shirts. I told him to make a sample. Not kidding, within two hours of the sample, I get a call on the weekend from a good friend who procures for a hospital that desperately needs them and have been getting quotes of MID-MAY deliveries . I told him we had the sample already. We made production pattern and marker Sunday and were in production Monday with the first drop being made last night.
This is an emergency rush so we had to use the materials on hand which happen to be Hawaiian prints and fun, bright novelty designs. They actually love the idea to bring a little cheer to what has been an extremely stressful situation. The good news is the fabric is ideal, reusable, easily sterilized, and we can produce them at mass scale to meet their immediate and critical needs. Under CDC protocols when there is a shortage of specialized medical grade masks, this becomes an acceptable and a necessary alternative. There are very few N95 respirators available and they are being allocated and prioritized for the most critical front line doctors and nurses for high risk procedures.
Thursday we were a “non-essential” clothing manufacturer, a dinosaur from the once proud California garment industry. A factory that local and state governments had asked to shut down during this crisis, but are now a maker and supplier of critical medical supplies.
I’ll be honest, up until a few days ago, I had no idea on how bad the shortage was and have been brainstorming to how we can build capacity. We are finishing an urgent project this week and will continue to make as many as we can in anticipation of other calls as we have been receiving them. Many of you are in the medical industry and if you have a serious need, contact my business by text or phone 949-380-8641.
Calling home sewers!! If you want to be part of this effort please contact me and I will get you a pattern, cut pieces, and if necessary, elastic to make these. We just donated all our surplus cotton to volunteers that normally make quilts, but are now making face masks. You can make a difference!
Medical professionals, hospitals, and clinics are our first priority, but so is the safety of friends and neighbors. The people have seen them have asked to buy them. I know it’s hard to find masks of any kind anywhere. In the coming days we will have them available. We are going to make some cool designs because there is no rule that you can’t be hygienic and fashionable at the same time. Check online!
Cheers friends back to the factory."