24/8/2020

Jhan Lindsay’s handmade facemasks are selling like hotcakes from a Petone cake store.

Petone resident, Jhan Lindsay began using some leftover materials to make a mask for her partner to wear in his construction job. One week and over a hundred masks later, the Wellington musician, composer and teacher is struggling to keep up with demand.

On the eve of the announcement that masks would be mandatory for people travelling on public transport Lindsay received an order for another 100 of her home sewn, reusable facemasks.

“I just wanted to have something that’s not paper and just going to become some waste. It’s about making cool reusable products,” she said.

Pictures of her creations on Lindsay’s Facebook page quickly led to friends requesting masks for their own use. Soon after local cake shop Cake It Forward approached her to supply masks for their Jackson St store.

“I figured out that if I bought a really jumbo pair of shears and cut multiple masks out of the material at the same time, I could really streamline my production. In three days I’d gone from making 3 masks to over forty,” said Lindsay.

Lindsay and Cake It Forward founder Bridget Cheesman are both focussed on using their products to do more than create profit.

Cake It Forward arose from an initiative to supply cakes for the birthdays and special occasions of kids who had a parent in prison. Three years later, what started as a hobby is now the family business offering cakes, catering, decorating classes and coffee while still giving out at least one cake a week and supporting Birthright social services.

“I always want people to feel special but the kids, I just want them to feel normal. Lots of kids don’t have birthday cakes. A lot of these kids have never had a cake at all,” said Cheesman.

Lindsay is also using the opportunity to support a cause important to her.

“I’ve supported Women’s Refuge in the past and I’ll be donating to the Women’s Refuge from proceeds from the sales of the masks,” said Lindsay.

The masks are reversable with funky, quirky patterns on one side and black on the other and available in three different sizes. The response from those wearing them has been the prime motivation for Lindsay’s decision to dive into manufacturing.

“Giving people confidence in these times. I feel like it’s giving people superpowers,” she said.