Virginia Beach woman's handmade masks turn into full-time business

Posted at 8:29 AM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 09:07:56-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A Virginia Beach woman is making and selling face masks from her home and doesn’t expect business to slow down anytime soon.

Terri Miller estimates she’s sold about 25,000 since the start of the pandemic. It all began when a friend with asthma asked if Miller would make a face mask when they were harder to find. After that, she posted on a neighborhood website showing the pattern she used and stating that she had a few extra if anyone needed.

“Within two days, I had orders for about 100 masks, and it just really hasn’t stopped,” said Miller.

She’s recruited a team of workers and employed students over the summer. Some work from their home and a couple work at hers - of course, all wearing masks as they sew, package and organize.

As for the product, it has evolved. At first, she used hair elastics for ear straps, but now she makes adjustable ones with neck straps, which she says is a game changer.

“Let’s face it - we only wear our masks when we need to, but how many times do I walk across a parking lot and see masks lying on the ground?” stated Miller. “Now, I get up in the morning and I put a mask around my neck and really, it’s part of my outfit.”

The business is called Filter Pocket Masks by Terri, and Miller explained that each mask has two layers into which you can slide half a coffee filter, and it creates more of a barrier.

“Because a lot of times, these thin masks - you see people breathe in, and it sucks against their face, and that’s smothering. So, that’s going to make it double the effectiveness, but also so much more breathable,” explained Miller. “If you’re more comfortable in your mask, you're more prone to wear it, and we’ll all be a little safer.”

Miller can even design face masks with customized logos. She’s made some for law enforcement agencies, sports teams and bridal parties.

“The main thing for us is the customization of it, because when somebody finds out that if they can imagine it, we can put it on there for them, that makes all the difference in the world,” said Tammy Nelson, who helps with packaging and organizing the product. “If you think that maybe you’re the only one out there that has this custom mask, it makes you feel important. That right there gives me a whole lot of joy.”

Miller says they are keeping very busy and don’t have an end in sight; however, she hopes that soon there won’t be a need to wear face masks. Perhaps then, she can expand the business into other personalized items like clothing and accessories.

To learn more about Pocket Filter Masks by Terri, click here.

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