Whether we like it or not, face masks are the new norm now… Here at FDRD we knew that masks would be required for the majority of our work this summer and we hoped to be able to provide complimentary masks to anyone who may have forgotten theirs or didn’t have the means to obtain one. We opted to go with reusable masks, after longtime volunteer and supporter, Thekla Shultz reached out with the news of her neighbor’s new “kid business.” Once we heard the details we were eager to support them in their entrepreneurial debut and quickly put our order in for 10 masks. We love our masks and were delighted with the whole purchasing process, so we figured we’d share a little bit about Mesa Masks!
Mesa Masks is a “kid business” that evolved during the pandemic. When a need for DIY cloth masks for the public started, there was a shortage of elastic. Thekla Schultz decided to sew masks and offered to outfit her friend Lisa Rode and family with masks. Lisa proposed that her kids could make ties from small elastic rubber bands. And so it began.
Fourteen year old Rose Rode is now the general manager of Mesa Masks. She has extraordinarily nimble fingers and is able to turn out ties at a rapid pace. She is also a good organizer and oversee’s production. Twelve year old Caleb Rode is sewing the cloth tabs that connect the ties to the masks. He plans to eventually learn the entire process of mask production. Ten year old Zane Rode is the public relationships specialist. He is responsible for sales, promotion and delivery. He is good at math and tracks the inventory and production. Thekla and Lisa help with sewing the fabric together and providing guidance to the kids as they navigate their new business of mask making. Family friend Cindy Muesing is helping with website guidance and supply chain logistics.
The team has produced more than 150 masks, while evolving the design to become increasingly user friendly. Mesa Masks have an interior pocket in which a coffee filter can be inserted for extra filtration. The elastic ties are detachable from the mask so that it can be adjusted for a good fit and the mask can be washed in hot water for better sanitation. Each mask has a sewn in pipe cleaner over the nose for a good fit.
Mesa Masks also come in a variety of fabrics including elegant satins, snow scenes, checkered flag, plaid, flowers, butterflies, unicorns, hunting prints and solid colors. Many of the production materials have been donated by community members, so availability and fabrics vary from time to time. Check back with us at anytime to find out what is currently available.