COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — Even though COVID has shaken up almost every aspect of everyday life, people are still falling in love. And some of those lovebirds are bound to take the plunge into marriage— but nobody dreams of walking down the aisle with a thick N-95 mask obscuring the smile stretched across their face.
Couples pick out their venue, their decorations, and outfits for their wedding party—and in 2021, you will likely also be picking out the type, color and style of face masks guests and the bridal party will be wearing.
This is a problem that Kim Hamlin is prepared to solve for you.
She has sold nearly 5,000 face masks over the last year via her Etsy storefront, with 4,000 of those being specifically made for weddings.
“It's definitely a full-time job. I'd say I do about 10 hours a day,” Hamlin told FOX 17 when they stopped by to visit Thursday morning.
Back in March, when everyone was scurrying to find as much PPE as they could, Hamlin and her daughter, who was visiting from California, began whipping out masks to sell on Etsy.
“And then a customer approached me on Etsy, probably towards the end of April, and said, 'Hey, have you ever thought about doing weddings?'”
Well, she had not thought of focusing on weddings, but she gave it a go.
"That order ended up being 85 masks,” she said.
“I would say by May, I had a second wedding—that was like 50 masks.”
Hamlin started her Etsy shop, Kim's Vintage Designs, way back in 2009, but didn't really treat it like a full-time gig until the pandemic.
"When I reopened my shop in the beginning of April of last year, I had 119 sales from my jewelry from previous years," she said.
She used to create unique jewelry by piecing together parts from different vintage pieces she would find.
Now she is on track to hit 3,100 orders on her Etsy shop by this weekend. Of course, many of those orders contain multiple masks.
She has sold about 5,000 face masks in the last 12 months, with 4,000 of those being wedding orders.
“I will get brides that are in a pinch and say, 'Hey, I need masks by Thursday, and it's Monday,'" she said.
"So I've had to quick scramble around, make them, and overnight them to the people.”
One time she had to overnight a set of masks directly to the Bellagio in Las Vegas for a couple who had forgotten about face masks until just days before the ceremony.
She works with each customer to determine which fabric, color and style they want. She even created the masks for her son's wedding this past November.
“You know, everybody has to wear a mask; nobody wants to wear it on their wedding day," she said.
"So if I can design something that is going to make their day better, then I feel like I'm doing my job.”