I sometimes get questioned by customers what the exact differences are between the face masks I sell for $15 and my premium face masks for $20. So I wanted to put up this blog post to help answer this question and help you make the best decision for yourself.
Premium Face Masks
Premium masks are more involved to sew and have trim around the mask, which allows the mask to be more firm, helps add some "stiffness" to the mask and hold its overall shape better. The nose wire (which is included in all my masks) is also hidden into the trim. Premium masks also have an extra layer in the chin covering, 3 layers vs 2 layers.
Why I Started Making Face Masks
Here's a little history behind both designs.... With this covid pandemic, I was searching for what to do for my family when we had to go out and about and wear a face mask. Early on, there was a lot of conversation that masks were not needed, in fact, the CDC told people to STOP buying them so that medical professionals didn't run out. We understood that, but still needed a good solution. Luckily my husband had bought a box of N95 face masks used for consruction projects from Home Depot and I bought a small pack of medical type face masks from Rite Aid, but for long term, I wasn't sure this would be enough.
Researching Face Masks
I started researching face masks online and looking at what was available. There are just so many and some are just so basic, you would be better off taping a paper towel to your face...just kidding. With my fashion and art background, I knew I could create something better and started creating designs on my own! I went through so many different "test" versions and picked only fabrics that I liked. I knew I wanted only quality materials I could use in a face mask and to also incorporate features such as a nose wire, chin covering, and filter pockets. I also researched how face mask filters actually work, so I knew I needed to incorporate polypropylene into my masks for some added protection and adding a filter would just be an option for even more filtration, as my masks without adding a filter, are filtering through cotton and polypropylene as an actual 3 layer mask. (I don't use a filter with my mask, only if going to high risk area like a doctor's office maybe)
Designing My Face Masks
For my first face mask designs I chose some fabric I loved and put it all together. I added trim around the entire face mask and had my family try them on. We loved them, they were so comfortable, I knew that the design techniques I had applied were perfect for what I was looking for. Fits very snug, doesn't ride up or especially...fall down your face. I also left the ear loops as adjustable using 1/8" elastic because 1/4" or larger was just too big and uncomfortable. This style mask is what is now my premium face mask.
Lower Cost Face Mask Option
I started selling these on Etsy but fealt that with all the competition from low cost and poorly designed masks (that won't last), I needed to come up with something I could offer for a little less as an option but without sacificing too much from my original design. After some trials, I found that if I removed the trim around the entire mask (took that step out) and also took one layer off the chin covering, I could save on time and material, bringing the overall cost down. With this design, I found I was able to sell it for $15, which now gives my customers an additional option at a lower cost. So far the feedback I have received has been great and with having my 2 designs, the hardest part is picking out the fabrics!