Etsy sellers make make thousands of fabric face masks

By Chris Dawson April 7, 2020 - 8:22 pm

With the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s issuing updated recommendation for everyone in the US to wear protective masks, Etsy is seeing significant demand for fabric face masks. Naturally as the home of all things handmade, Etsy sellers are rising to the challenge and have their sewing machines working overtime to churn out fabric face masks and they’re selling as fast as they can make them.

“It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”
– American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Over the weekend (April 4-6), buyers searched for face masks on Etsy an average of 9 times per second, over 2 million searches.
  • Over the past week, Etsy have sold hundreds of thousands of face masks per day.
  • The number of face mask sellers has increased five-fold in the last two weeks to nearly 20,000 sellers.
  • In the past week, Etsy have seen a three-times increase in the number of shops selling face masks daily.
  • “Face mask” was the most frequently searched term on Etsy in the past two weeks.

Whether hand made fabric face masks will do anything for you is up for debate. Certainly it’s accepted that they are not medical-grade and Etsy are keen to point out that people should be careful not to make any unsubstantiated claims in their listings. Regardless, such is the demand that Etsy say demand is outstripping demand so if you’re handy with a sewing machine and have some funky fabric laying about, knocking up a supply of fabric face masks could turn a quick profit at the moment.

If you do decide to wear a fabric face mask, be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing. Also wash frequently – a washing machine wash is recommended by the American CDC.

“It’s important for everyone to understand that handmade face masks aren’t a substitute for medical-grade equipment. Recommendations from public health authorities are also changing over time. Sellers need to follow Etsy’s policies (including for prohibited items and for face coverings) and may not advertise or represent their products as medical devices, or that they are designed or intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose or cure any disease or health condition.”
– Etsy

Etsy CEO Josh Silverman noted “Not only is this helping small businesses stay afloat during this difficult time by using their skills to make in-demand products, we also hope that the availability of non-medical, consumer masks on Etsy will allow more medical and surgical masks to reach the people who need them most: front line health care workers.”

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