Throughout the past couple of months, there’s been a lot of confusion regarding the use of face masks.

Should we use them? Should we leave them to the doctors and nurses? Do they even do anything?

As of Friday, April 3rd, there was a clear answer — one that came directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and was echoed by our president.

Yes, we should use them.

Yes, we should leave the medical-grade ones to the frontline workers.

Yes, they work. They work by protecting everyone around you.

Masks, even the ones that aren’t medical-grade, make the transfer of droplets from one person’s mouth to another’s mouth, nose, or eyes less likely.

Since those droplets are how the virus is spread — from symptomatic and asymptomatic people alike — a surge in mask-wearing would mean a reduction in virus spreading.

So, why are we so late to the party? Why, if countries like South Korea and Taiwan were already using masks as a way to protect citizens and avoid lockdowns, are we just advocating for the measure now?

The answer is: it comes down to shortages.

In hospitals all over the country, doctors and nurses are running out of the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need. They’re wearing garbage bags instead of gowns, they’re not switching out their masks between patients, and they’re left wondering if tomorrow will be the day their insufficient PPE will get them infected.

Given that horror — that’s not unique to any hospital, or any state — the federal voices on policy were hesitant to encourage widespread use of PPE. If there wasn’t enough for the frontline workers, there certainly wouldn’t be enough for the entire country.

But, in light of the virus’s spread in recent days, those voices came to the conclusion that doing something was better than doing nothing.

They aren’t advising the public to go out and buy a medical-grade mask. In fact, they’re condemning anyone who isn’t a frontline worker who does. But, they are recommending the use of masks.

Non-medical grade. Homemade.

With their recommendation, it’s clear that the simplest, easiest-to-produce materials still do something.

And that’s where you come in.

Apparel decorators and the rise of face masks

There’s no question that the demand for face masks right now is higher than it’s ever been before. And, with each day that passes, it’s only getting higher.

The good news is, wholesale blank garment manufacturers and apparel decorators already have the requisite expertise to jump on the opportunity.

There are garment manufacturers who have already shifted their operations to produce more than 5 million masks a week. (We’ve included a list of manufacturers making masks at the end of this article.)

There are apparel decorators — InkSoft customers — who have already started selling custom-branded face masks to the public. 

Take The Discovertee, for example: a California-based screen printer that’s shifted its focus from t-shirts to face masks in recent days.

The Discovertee utilizing InkSoft’s Designer feature to offer customers the chance to design their own custom branded face mask.

By utilizing InkSoft’s Designer feature to offer customers the chance to design their own mask in real-time, The Discovertee isn’t just selling an essential good.

It’s selling an experience. An experience that gives its customers a sense of control during a crisis that makes most feel helpless, no less.

More than a new stream of revenue

Sure, it’s easy to look at the rising demand for face masks and see dollar signs — especially when you have the know-how and tools to jump on board so quickly.

But joining into this race for mask production and design means more than just filling an aesthetically-driven need.

It means filling a societally-driven need, at a time when our society is needing a lot.

We’re in a crisis — a health crisis, an economic crisis, and a social crisis. You using your resources to take part in the supply of face masks means that you’re giving a helping hand to all three.

On the health side, you’re providing a product that slows the spread of the virus we’re trying to fight.

On the economic side, you’re keeping your business operating — and your employees employed. Who knows — with the growing demand, you may even be able to hire a few more.

And finally, on the social side, you’re offering a sense of joy to a national community in panic mode. You’re offering a moment or two of release, of fun, as your customers design their own personal article of protection.

Maybe your customer’s somebody living alone — and cast into isolation.

Maybe your customer’s a family with young children, with all of their excited faces crowded around the screen.

Or maybe your customer’s a grocery store clerk, looking to bring some lightness into their workplace.

Whoever you’re serving, you’re not just serving them — you’re serving the people around them. By protecting them, sure, but also by creating a sense of connection between strangers.

A sense of community.

The community behind the masks

Like one article in the Washington Post recounts, “My mask protects you; your mask protects me.”

The article, which details the Czech Republic’s pro-mask response to the pandemic, explains how wearing a mask in that country is viewed as an act of service to the national community — while not wearing a mask is “an antisocial action that puts your community at risk.”

This is so instilled in their cities that people hang homemade masks from trees, free for anyone who needs them.

Bars that have shut down their typical service use their staff to sew cotton masks from scratch.

The result? A community that feels bonded, despite the physical distance requirements. (And let it be noted that masks are not a measure to be used instead of social distancing.)

My mask protects you. Your mask protects me.

We’re all wearing masks to protect each other.

If there was ever a need for a community to feel bonded, to feel a mutual sense of consideration, it is now.

Not just a passing fad

If you’re hesitating to embrace face masks as a new selling feature because you think they’ll be obsolete in a few months — think again.

Industry experts are convinced there’s nothing fleeting about them. In fact, given our society’s newly adapted, all-consuming concern for the spread of viruses, they’ll likely be a mainstay long after COVID-19 has passed.

At least, that’s what Ryan Moor, CEO of wholesale t-shirt manufacturer Allmade, has to say.

“The demand for face masks is overwhelming, and it’s not going away. We see the demand surviving COVID-19 and becoming a commonly used solution to prevent the spread of all viruses, like you see in Asia.”

Moor maintains: “Decorated and blank face masks might become a very common, central product for print shops to offer their customers.”

If Moor’s right — and if the regional trends we can see in Asia are any indication — face masks could become an integral part of our daily life.

So, that’s all the more reason for you to embrace the trend, as it stands now. While we can’t be certain about any aspect of the future — be it our global health, economic, or social standings — we can be certain about the present.

And the present is demanding more masks.

More individual measures of protection.

More community bonding.

Start adding face masks to your business’s offerings, and you won’t just see more business. You’ll see the impact you have on your community.

InkSoft and face masks

Just as you use our technology to design and sell your decorated t-shirts (and apparel), so too can you use it for your face masks!

Our Designer feature empowers your customers to design their masks their way. Our Stores feature empowers you to display all of your offerings in one visually appealing, easy-to-navigate place.

We’re doing everything we can to make continuing to operate as feasible — and easy — for your business as it can be. By taking in current trends and brainstorming creative solutions, we’re certain that we can all stay above the water — together.

And make a positive impact while doing it.

If you have any questions about InkSoft technology, or if there’s any way we can help your business specifically, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

You can reach us at 800-410-3048.

We’re here for you. And we believe, at our core, that we all do better when we’re working together.

Stay safe,

The InkSoft team

P.s. Here’s a list of wholesale apparel suppliers making masks:

If you know of other whole face mask suppliers, please leave in the comments below, or email us at:

If you are searching for a face mask pallet for automatic and manual screen printing presses check out what the Action Engineering team invented!