Material once used for high-end  weddings dresses is being repurposed to create face masks, in a business shift that has saved a dressmaker from near collapse.
Material once used for high-end weddings dresses is being repurposed to create face masks, in a business shift that has saved a dressmaker from near collapse.

Face mask move saves dressmaker

MATERIAL once used for high-end Brownlow gowns and weddings dresses is being repurposed to create face masks, in a business shift that has saved a Geelong dressmakers from near collapse.

Over three decades Karen Bourdamis had built up her Pearls and Roses Bridal business to a point where it was "doing the best it's ever done" at the start of 2020, before COVID-19 all but ripped it out from under her.

Karen Bourdamis from Pearls and Roses Bridal with a sequin mask. Picture: Glenn Ferguson
Karen Bourdamis from Pearls and Roses Bridal with a sequin mask. Picture: Glenn Ferguson

"Since COVID struck obviously the demand has dropped well and truly," she said. "I didn't have an income for at least 10 weeks. I kept my business running on an empty tank."

But, necessity became opportunity for the dressmaker, after demand skyrocketed for the ultra-stylish face masks which she had originally created to use while working on customers in the early days of the pandemic.

"I'd designed a beautiful face mask for myself for work," she said. "Working with my brides I had to go within 1.5m when I was fitting ladies or helping them choose their wedding dresses, sort of probably from the start of April. It sort of evolved from there."

"We've got an online store and we put up our first eight or 10 designs and I didn't expect anyone to want to buy them, I thought maybe I'll sell 10 or 20. But they went gangbusters.

"We had a post from my gorgeous friend Renee Enright who I've dressed many times for the Brownlow and various events. She shared it on her page and it broke my website. The demand just killed it, absolutely killed the website.

"I've dug into my secret treasure of sequin boxes and leftover wedding gown fabric and leftover Brownlow gowns. There's 30 years of vintage fabrics in here, so until they all run out I'm just going to keep making them."

Business has boomed so much that Karen's team are all at work sewing masks as well as dresses, and the business owner needs to hire a new machinist. Those wishing to ask about the job can email info@pearlsandroses.com.au

The masks are available online, at pearlsandroses.com.au

Originally published as Face mask move saves dressmaker



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