Meet Janna - Owner of Sewpreme Masks
When I initially posted asking for volunteers to be in my blog series, I had a vision in mind of how this blog would help other women business owners, like myself, get their names out there and give them a way to help promote themselves. I also felt like this blog series is about women’s empowerment and women supporting women, because those are things that are very important to me.
This particular post happens to be a little different than my normal posts. Janna didn’t email me to request to be in my blog, I actually found her. I came across her mask company, Sewpreme Masks, and I knew I needed her to be part of this blog series. Sewpreme Masks was founded during the Covid 19 pandemic in response to Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, and the original mask was the “RBG Mask'' (black with white lace at the top to honor Her Honor). Janna began selling her masks and with every mask sold, she donated to the ACLU. In addition to that, Janna found a company that sold fabrics with designs made by independent artists and she started using those fabrics as well (one with RBG accessories and some designs inspired by John Lewis and Kamala Harris). Janna went as far as teaming up with one of these independent artists to create their own Kamala Harris design and she created masks with that fabric as well.
Janna embodies what this blog is about - supporting people. She donated over $1,000 to the ACLU since starting Sewpreme Masks and that’s just AMAZING! Now, as we all know, the mask industry has taken a HUGE hit lately, but I think MOST of us are very grateful about that and are hoping things will continue to “get back to normal” a little more each day. Sadly, even though this blog post is to “introduce” you to a new business, this is also a “farewell to Sewpreme Masks”, as Janna is in process of closing that business out now that mask restrictions have been lifted for vaccinated people.
You don’t have to be too sad, Janna seems OK with the fact that this business is short lived (and no offense to Janna, I think most of us can agree that we are glad it was short lived as well), and it’s given her time to focus on a new venture she is working on - that has to do with being green and using less toxic chemicals (If you’re in Holliston, you may see her sharing some recycling tips on our town pages sometimes, I actually learned from her post that I was allowed to recycle pizza boxes, which I hadn’t done in my entire life because I was once told not to)! Perhaps when she’s ready, you’ll be seeing her featured in another blog post!
As usual, I sent Janna some questions before her interview, keep scrolling to see how she responded!
1. What’s the name of your business and where is your business located?
Sewpreme Masks in my home in Holliston (found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sewprememasks)
2. What type of business is it?
Homemade masks with a sight activism vibe
3. Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’m a stay-at-home mom that has been sewing for over 25 years. I moved Holliston 11 years ago after living most of my adult life in Phoenix and Boston. I was an elementary school teacher for 18 years and am passionate about environmental health and how it impacts human health.
After Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, I wanted to show my admiration for her so I designed my original RBG mask (black with white lace). Soon after I discovered a fabric print online called RBG Accessories designed by an independent artist and quickly knew I wanted a mask made with that fabric, too.
Showing my new masks to some friends and asking if they think others would like them as much as I did, they confirmed that they loved them and encouraged me to go into business. I wanted to support a charity with every mask sold and landed on the ACLU when I discovered that it was here that Ruth Bader Ginsburg started her career as an attorney and where she founded the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. I couldn’t think of a more apropos charity.
When friends started giving my masks to other friends as gifts, I began getting orders from people I didn’t know from across the country. It’s exciting to know that my masks are being worn as far away as Georgia and California!
I loved the fabric designed by the independent artist so much that I started browsing around the website and fell in love with other designs representing John Lewis and Kamala Harris. I kept adding these fabrics to my collection and before you knew it I was sewing 8 different masks. Knowing I was also supporting independent artists, these purchases were easy to justify;-) My last print added to the collection was one in which I had teamed up with an artist to design our very own Kamala Harris fabric.
When I first started, I thought maybe I’d be able to donate a couple hundred dollars to the ACLU, but we’ve far exceeded that. So far, Sewpreme Masks has donated $1100!
4. What has your biggest challenge been starting your own business?
Finding the balance between keeping my family and customers happy.
5. What is your favorite part about running your own business?
Making my own hours
6. What is one thing you wish you knew before getting started?
7. What advice do you have for anyone trying to start their own business?
Just start! There is never going to be the ‘perfect time’ and you will always be able to find excuses why we shouldn’t. Surround yourself with people who will support your dream and GO!
8. Who is your role model/who inspired you to start your own business?
My local friends were the first to encourage me to start the mask business. They’re an incredibly supportive bunch and eagerly offer free advertising by sharing on social media and giving my masks as gifts, which was really what caused sales to soar.
If you'd like to see any of Janna's other mask creations, check out her facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/sewprememasks
Thanks for stopping by!