While the Covid-19 pandemic brought the world to a virtual standstill back in the early days of March, one company and its CEO in Los Angeles County sprung into action to come to the aid of essential health workers and people working on the front line of the battle against Covid-19. Today, that company is proud to celebrate an important milestone in their commitment to support the health workers in their community by announcing their donation of one million facemasks to essential health workers in Los Angeles County, as well as other hard-hit areas of the United States such as New York, Louisiana, and Washington, DC.
Kfir Gavrieli, CEO of the fashion brand Tieks, a manufacturer and distributor of women’s footwear, mobilized both his staff and the supporters and fans of his brand to do something to help essential health workers, upon hearing about critical shortages of PPE among hospital workers.
Initially, the idea was a simple one. Kfir Gavrieli purchased a fleet of sewing machines, had his staff go through a basic training, and turned the Tieks manufacturing facility in Southern California into a mask-making assembly line, producing hundreds of masks for donation to the area’s front line health workers.
While the act of turning over his facility into a contributor of essential PPE for health workers was a useful and excellent idea, for Kfir Gavrieli – an innovative entrepreneur whose corporate goals have always included giving back to the community – it soon became evident that the in-house team at Tieks was limited in its capacity to help. The team soon learned that, on its own, it could not produce as many masks as were needed in time for the oncoming crisis in the Los Angeles County area.
During a recent conversation on The Briefing, a webinar on how corporate brands can be a force for good, Gavrieli revealed how the mask-making initiative came into being and grew. “We tried making masks,” he explained. “We were making a few hundred a day. And then it hit us that if we could somehow engage our community, our fans and our customers, to sew masks with us, we could really scale up the impact we were having.”
This innovative idea gave birth to the groundbreaking Tieks Operation #SewTogether Campaign. #SewTogether is an online social media campaign that rewards Tieks’ customers, fans, and supporters with gift cards for Tieks stylish and comfortable ballet flats in exchange for joining the company’s mask-making efforts and sewing along with the Tieks in-house team. The campaign rewards participants with $50 gift cards for every 25 masks sewn and delivered, and $100 gift cards for every 50 masks contributed.
Thanks to the popularity of the Tieks brand, and consumer’s admiration for the Tieks comfy and foldable ballet flats made from the finest Italian leather and fabrics, the campaign caught on like wildfire, and soon hundreds of fans and followers had joined in. Within a few weeks, Operation #SewTogether had engaged thousands of participants, and together with the Tieks in-house team, they were producing hundreds of thousands of cloth facemasks to distribute to hospitals and healthcare workers across the country who needed them urgently.
This week, Tieks has proudly made the announcement that the number of cloth masks produced and donated by the Operation #SewTogether Campaign has surpassed one million, a major milestone for both Tieks and its enthusiastic supporters.
These cloth masks are designed with pockets for filters, and are used to extend the life of the more-critical N95 masks that front line health care workers rely on, which have been difficult to come by in many hospitals and medical facilities as the demands of the pandemic increase. By wearing the cloth masks together with N95 masks, these cloth masks provide added protection for front-line workers, while helping to prolong the useful life of the N95 masks. The cloth masks also provide essential protection for general health care workers who work in the hospital setting but have no direct contact with Covid patients. This means that the essential N95 masks can be reserved for front line workers who need them most.
“Overnight, we have managed to create a work-from-home factory with thousands of amazing members of our Tieks family, who have mobilized to pump out hundreds of thousands of masks,” Kfir Gavrieli explained on The Briefing. “As soon as I learned of this coming shortage, I knew we had a responsibility to reorient our business to get masks into the hands of those who need them most. We’ve seen the tremendous power of our Tieks community many times before, but the response so far has been beyond anything I could have imagined. There is an overwhelming desire to help. We are merely mobilizing and facilitating this effort. By sewing together, we can and will save lives together.”