The days go by, day in and day out, we are packing and shipping and packing and shipping. I am happy to report that everything is going smoothly! But that also means that my days are a little more mundane. One of those blessings that we just aren't that grateful for after a while. I'm definitely happy that we are able to do this easily, but it super was exciting to be so on the edge, constantly redesigning, and always rushing around on the emptied post-apocalyptic covid19 roads. Though the days of production hardship are behind us, there is still the future road where we now need to decide if it is time to stop producing masks. When the time comes, we will be taking the time to improve our Hawaiian apparel for maximum comfort and style, as well as our car seat covers for the best possible universal fit. From our partners in production and our buddies in the industries, it sounds like slowly but surely, normalcy is finally returning. Despite Hawaii extending the stay-at-home orders until May 31st, the norm feels on track.
Many of you have thanked us and our team for our work and we really need to be thanking you for giving us the opportunity to provide face masks. It has been enlightening. All of our production flaws and difficulties were really laid bare in the hot sun to burn and sting. We are still working to permanently and properly correct our flaw. This whole experience was a beneficial eye opener.
Looking back, the behind the scenes people who probably worked the hardest would be be our cutters and sew-ers. Ninth Isle will be thanking each of our behind the scenes producers on radio, 102.7FM. We have never done any radio advertisements before, but we feel that they deserve as much credit as possible. If you listen to the radio channel, please listen for our message!
Side note: Hawaii Public Radio messages are in the works. We always wanted to support HPR on a regular basis. It's not that hard to get a radio message, so we hope to be a proud support of HPR in the near future!
All the best, please stay safe, and Mahalo!
Everything is so good! We had many many.... Many.. hiccups thus far and everyone has been so kind as to forgive and even help out! Thank you so much! If you've received a wrong color or a loose elastic band, and just forgave us for the mistake, the entire team thanks you! We feel absolutely awful for each mistake we find, and especially for the ones we didn't find. Ninth Isle tries to bring you the best quality Hawaiian products at low prices. We rely heavily on our experience with the product in all aspects. I feel I can now said that we have experience. We gained a lot of experience in the past week and a half. We discovered a tech issue on our website. More accurately, it was possibly the most confusing website product organization on the market. It was set up so that no matter what product you chose, you could access the entire stores worth of face mask designs and colors! What a grand ol idea, would have been good if we did it with some testing and made sure titles and options were consistent with each other. We have changed this April 12-13 overnight to have 1 product per listing. Obvious thing to do? Yes. My apologies to everyone who I had to call, text, and email for design confirmations due to this bad organization. Although, I'm a little happy that it happened because I got to speak with so many of you. After so many phone calls and messages, I can report that everyone here is truly nice! Thank you all again for being so kind and generous when I had to cold call you for design confirmation!
Another kind act that has been going around, I saw that so many people visited the "leave a thank you message" and some even left a message for our production team. Did you know they visit to see the page during their breaks? When I go to see them and bring the website up, they know about these comments before I do! I don't see them posting in the comments section though, I might need to ask them if they want to post anything and jot it down into a comment on their behalf. I can see that the general mood is less rushed and more happy, very much like how we started, but with more meaning and purpose since we have done so much. In terms of health, we are all able to get more rest and eat more regularly! There's no need to worry, we are fine now!
With this more regular schedule, we have been able to get some new designs. Now we are able to get creative and make some fun products!
There's more, can you imagine baby face masks? It kind of gives me the same feeling as baby socks. We have some adorably appropriate designs and I can't wait to list them for everyone to see. HINT: Check back early Saturday Morning!
With that hint, I'll end the post here. I'll post another update soon!
Mahalo and stay safe!
WE ARE ON FIRE! Sewing machines are hissing and stomping, printers are whizzing and whirring, our quality checks are snapping and snipping! It sounds like everything is falling into place and our production is stronger than ever! We expect that our backlog will be decimated by Monday. If you are waiting on your order, you should plan to see that it has hit the post office by the end of Monday Hawaii time.
The past couple of days have been all about becoming more professional producers of face masks. We are all good now, but we had run into quite a few problems before this stage. Sewing machine problems on literally every machine in every sewing location. Most were minor errors and were caught and remedied. One issue with the elastic bands were found by a particular customer, we will call him "MC". He quickly informed us of the issue, which helped enhance our quality checks and prevent what could have been a fiasco. MC, we all thank you and our customers who received good quality products also thank you!
We have also listed many new products as well! You might have taken a look and realized that the new products are all 3 layer masks. There's good reason behind this. Although we are believers in the 4 layer mask and prefer this accordion/surgeon mask style, we could clearly see the number of masks ordered and the number of masks made per day. Let's just say that they were not on the same page. As it turns out, making this accordion / surgeon mask style takes more time and effort. With 4 layers, that's a lot of moving corners when trying to sew. Then there are the 3 folds that make the accordion. It's very difficult to the total size of the mask, the left and the right sides, and the spacing. The 2 elastic bands that are 1/8 of an inch thick are not meant to be handled by anything less than divine tweezers. Or at least, not friendly to clumsy hands. Finally, the 1 flexible wire for the nose bridge was a challenge. Inserting before sewing, inserting after sewing, inserting that wire straight into nightmares. If the wire bends too much before it gets in, the difficult rises exponentially.
Given all these challenges, each person in our sewing team is able to perform every task with speed and accuracy after just a little practice. In less than 2 days, everyone has gained every skill needed to produce these masks. Our sewing team certainly talented, but the level they have achieved is through hard work and focus. All of our sewing team have already achieved their 60 hour work week and are still going. How can they do this? I wouldn't know. It must be a Spartan secret.
Where we are now with orders is still a little behind, but with our grade-A sewing team, we are going to be ok. If you want to send a little encouragement and learn about our sewing team, you can read and leave a message here:
I talk a lot about our sewing team because I work with them so closely to ensure each step and detail is good quality. I forget to mention our fabric cutting team. It's just two guys who complete tasks in a strangely clockwork manner. Whether I need it tomorrow or ASAP, every design, color, layer, and quantity is correctly and neatly bundled and ready for distribution. You can read about both our fabric cutters and seamsters in the same post. I hope to add more details about them as we free up some time. It's not easy to conduct an interview when they won't stop sewing.
I am so glad to be able to make face masks for everyone, the process of planning, prototyping, material picking, production refinement, all the way down to getting supplies has been a challenge in this state of emergency. I actually made more friends with our local businesses than I ever did, even if we were 6ft apart and separated by locked glass doors. It's the hand gestures that really tell you a lot about a person.
Keep checking back to this blog for more of our once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Stay safe and Mahalo!
Our last post was a little panicked. I am finally able to come back to you with great news! Here's what we have accomplished in the last 26 hours (it is actually 12:27am on the 10th).
1. Added new sewing partners to our team. This means that we can expect more of our 4 layer masks and the 3 layer reversible masks. Thank goodness.
2. As most of everyone knows, materials to make anything related to safety are very scarce. What little is available is now x2, x3, or x4 the normal price. Despite that, we were able to find a local crafts store that is not looking to price gouge and is offering everything at the same prices. As all the prices from thread, elastic, labor, and even shipping cost go up, it is nice to know that our local crafts store is there for the community. I've personally gone there so many times, I've made 6 foot friends. New friends who I've met and laughed with from a minimum of 6 feet away.
3. 3 Layer Masks that are reversible. This was posted late late April 8th. It was a new product that we were able to make. It is similarly difficult to make, but at least the sewing is a little easier. Although it isn't as protective as the 4 layer mask, you'll probably receive this item sooner than the 4 layer mask since I'll likely have it sewn up faster.
4. Stress levels have gone down as we were able to fulfill a majority of our backlogged orders. So far, none of our backlogged orders needed to wait more than 2 days to have their item shipped. Our fastest is under 5 minutes, but that was due to ordering luck. They just happened to order exactly what was on hand.
5. We have gotten so many sincere thank you notes. I will be trying to post your thank yous up on our wall. Actually, I might make a separate post for all of our customers to express their thanks to our awesome partners. From cutting, sewing, packaging, we are all doing this to help our communities and it feels so healthy to hear your personal stories and thanks. It's one of the few kinds of "warming" that we love.
6. This point is not an accomplishment. Actually, I need to apologize for the decreasing quality of the photos. It may look like they are posted with little to no care/effort. In truth, they were posted for the sake of making the designs available. If you haven't seen it, take a look:
Mask photos that we aren't quite proud of:
Different Background Colors (different time of day)
7. This one will be an accomplishment! We have recently been asked to produce a lot of masks for many essential workers for the state of Hawaii! There are many hundreds of essential workers who are keeping us safe and are not given proper medical protection. Our masks aren't a sufficient medical substitute, but they have been deemed necessary and needed. We are doing our best to support the orders from our customers as well as the bulk orders from our government agencies. We are working to ensure that all orders are still going out within 2 days while working to fulfill the bulk orders ASAP to protect our essential workers. From our current plans for production, so-far-so-good.
That's all for today! Please check back with this blog for more updates.
Stay safe and Mahalo!
--------2ND UPDATE 4/8/2020---------
Aloha! This is the second update in the same day. We are pushing as many masks out as soon as possible. Our goal is to provide cloth masks for everyone at a low price. We prioritize access to our masks to promote the safety for everyone. At this time, we ran through our original stores of supplies. What we are doing now is buying from other sources at a hugely marked up price. We are so sorry, but in this time of high demand and scarcity, the individual materials are just much more expensive. Despite the huge price increases on the market for materials, our seamstresses and seamsters are doing their best to keep the price of their labor low. Enormously grateful to our sewing team for their generous hearts.
Ninth Isle and Winnie Fashion are dedicated to our communities and country, so we have decided that we will sell these masks at $10, effective immediately since we have already needed to buy the extremely pricey goods. This is a $2 increase from our original price of $8. Amid these skyrocketing prices, we are doing our best to raise the price as little as possible while including free shipping. Unfortunately, we have to discontinue all discounts by end of April 8. We originally wanted to stop discounts on April 9, but considering the demand and the new huge costs, April 8th is the best we can do. Keeping prices at $10 per mask is already difficult, I hope this will not cause too much difficulty.
We have all been doing 12+ hour shifts, but we are still struggling to keep up with demand. Our original plan is to ship all order out within 24 hours. We may need some extra time.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are all in this together, let's support each other as best we can!
Stay safe and mahalo!
We are so happy to be able to ship out so many protective face masks! In full disclosure, we are approaching out max output and also asking more of our seamstresses and seamsters to make more. Since so many of us need masks still, we are asking our sewing team to go faster. Considering the stress and the long hours, our sewing team has rightfully asked for a modest increase in pay. This is why we can no longer offer the 25% and 30% off for quantity discounts. They 15% off is still available as that is an incentive to have our customers buy 3 to save on shipping. That will not change. Thank you for your support and I hope that this reduction in discounts will not impact our customers too greatly.
This discount reduction goes in effect April 9, when my sewing team will have a modest increase in sewing compensation.
Thank you all again for supporting us and our local sewing team. We hope to keep providing these to everyone at a low cost!
We just got some extra materials! We should last though Wednesday! Place orders without worry!
We are running out of masks! We will get more materials to make the masks by Thursday, 4/9/2020. We can make just a few more at this point. For those who order after we run out, please hold out for a little while! If we mail out thursday, you should get it friday or saturday for Hawaii residents and Monday for our US mainland / Alaskan customers. Do you have questions? Email your question at any time: email@example.com.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell is recommending all Hawaii residents to wear a cloth mask, homemade or a simple towel. We have never made masks and never planned to. However, given this difficult situation, it seems that this is something that Ninth Isle is able to contribute towards. It is past midnight now and we have a final product to share. We do not have a large supply of these masks and we are pricing as low as we can. We put it online for a huge $8 if you buy only 1 or 2 as it is not really practical to ship so few. There are steep discounts for buying a few at a time.
Buy 3 or more and use code: BEHEALTHY15%
Buy 6 or more and use code: BEHEALTHY25%
Buy 10 or more and use code: BEHEALTHY30%
Here's what the masks have:
1. Nose Bridge Wire - Adjusts to shape of nose and face
2. FOUR (4) Layers of Protection - Cotton, Non-Woven Interlining x 2, Cotton
3. Elastic Ear Loops
4. Expandable Design Modeled After the Surgical Mask
If you buy, you MUST KNOW:
WASH MASKS DAILY
WASHING: Hand wash or machine wash - Warm or Hot Water - Approved Laundry Detergent : https://www.americanchemistry.com/Novel-Coronavirus-Fighting-Products-List.pdf
DRYING: Using the dryer, please use heat in order to kill viruses and bacteria. If hang dry, please make sure to hang out in sunlight to dry as UV rays will sterilize the masks.
NON-MEDICAL: Ninth Isle is releasing this product to help everyone protect themselves and family. This product is not for healthcare workers, but is great to give patients to wear to prevent infecting our healthcare workers.
Show your aloha by staying home. If you have to go out, protect yourself and everyone else by wearing your mask.
Mahalo! Please stay safe!