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Behind the Company

What can we do from home when things feel hopeless

...... Grandma would turn on her sewing machine.  

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My name is Sally Chan aka Sally Thai Larson. 

I'm a new mother.  By profession, I'm a trial attorney with my own law firm, West Themis Law.  

I'm also the co-founder of a retail pharmacy franchise called 986 Pharmacy with multiple franchisee locations in S. California, Nevada, and Texas.  

My Grandma raised my siblings and I to become college grads and professionals by sewing from home for 30 years.  On March 10th, 2020, I lost my Grandma to pneumonia from an unknown viral infection.  I do not know if it was Covid-19.  There were no tests.   

In following how Covid-19 unfolded in Asia, I was convinced that their practice of Universal Masking was one of the main reasons why they did not see a vertical increase similar to Italy.  In Asia, you have much higher population density where the population regularly take public transportation that is packed.  

 

I ordered masks online like everyone else.  Like everyone else, my masks "might" come in a month.   

As a business owner and an employment attorney, and a mother concerned about Covid-19, I was obsessed with the wanting to get a mask for my family and employees immediately. So, instead of waiting for masks to come in a month or even two, I researched the internet for whether cloth masks can at least provide some protection.  

I hated the environmental waste of disposal medical masks. 

I hated that regular, non-medical public were buying and hoarding N95s that were better used (and properly used) by medical professionals.  

Moreover, I hated watching my friends and family become unemployed during the pandemic.  

During my childhood, I slept with my Grandma often.  Grandma earned money from sewing from home while we slept in order to take care of us during the day.   The humming from her sewing machine rocked me to sleep.  Grandma spoke very few affectionate words.  She was a very tough lady.  The humming of her sewing machine every night was Grandma's own way of singing to me and telling me she loved me.  I would see her rubbing her tired eyes, struggling to make those last stitches to put food on the table for us.  Every hum of that sewing machine was another meal for us.  

 

After an entire night of sewing over 30 different masks while listening to the news report of all the families laid off and stuck at home because of the pandemic, I finally came up with a mask I loved and trusted that would be good enough for protecting my family, especially my mother who is in within the high risk age group.  That masks is currently the Reversible collection.  

 

How can I get make more of these masks and get them to more people when all of the local sewing factories are closed? How can I sew hundreds and thousands of masks to donate?

 

 I have the business experience, manufacturing experience (when my family used to manufacture clothing), and direct access to retail pharmacy outlets.  

In the still of the night with the rain coming down behind the hum of my sewing machine, it hit me:

Grandma would turn on her sewing machine to make a difference in her community.  

Sewing at Home!  Many of us can sew at home during the quarantine! 

But many women would not know how to or have the ability and resources to sell and distribute cloth masks made.  

Within the next 8 hours, I contacted fabric wholesalers and fabric cutters to have over 30,000 pieces of my mask pattern cut and completed just the hours before the total lock down.  

Within the next 10 hours, a sewing team was formed - and more will join, .....and Made At Home was created.   Since then, women have picked up trimmings and dropped off completed masks for pay on a daily basis while my mother (who is retired and living with me now) handled all the packing.  I distributed the masks to the pharmacies in my network for sale.  Every day, I saw hope in every woman's eyes when they turned their sewing machines into spindles to create money to pay for rent and food during this time.  

This company and future brand - created for the specific purpose of helping families during this crisis and future crisis is dedicated to my Grandma.  She is an extraordinary woman that never gave up fighting in the face of any crisis that appeared out of any one's control.  She pulled her family up from refugees status in two countries after two wars.  She fled on illegal boats and had to personally throw her own mother's body over the boat and into the ocean.  She  survived war prison while her son died suddenly of an unknown blood infection.  In any crisis, she was always empowered by the sheer love of helping those struggling in her community as her way to stay positive.   

 

I hope the little sewing machine in each family's home now will help many families get through this crisis by making us protection and giving us the hope we all need to survive this world crisis.  

 

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