BARTLETT — “Sales have been pretty much overwhelming. It’s been really hard to keep up with the orders, but hopefully by the end of the week or the start of next week we will be caught up.”
So said Ragged Mountain Equipment co-owner and founder Rob Nadler on Monday as he gave an update on the company’s cloth masks, which the locally owned and operated company launched online (raggedmountain.com.face-masks) and at the store with curbside delivery starting March 30.
“We are lucky now that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has recommended that everyone wear a mask, whether non-medical or not, when they venture out to the stores” said Nadler. “I believe that the recommendation by the CDC has increased sales.”
Founded as an outdoor clothing and equipment manufacturing company in 1985, Ragged was one of several local mask-makers profiled in the April 3 edition of the Sun (“Mask shortage? Valley springs into action”).
Nadler said they have received orders from health groups such as Memorial Hospital and said he and Ragged designers have been making changes as they go along. He underscored that all masks have two layers of fabric.
“We have added a simpler second cotton model and two more colors — black and camel, including cotton batik with lightweight liners," Nadler said.
"It’s a beautiful new fabric — it’s unique, and we thought, hey, let’s use that for the masks. It’s playful and colorful in design. It will help us fill the orders,” he said.
The company has made at least 1,500 of the original masks and cut 1,500 of the batik design and about 3,000 of the original design, he said. Nadler estimates they have sold at least 2,500.
The cotton original designs sell locally for $10 ($12 with shipping), while the batik sell for $8 and $10 with shipping.
After people place their orders online, staffers call customers to arrange curbside pickup when they are ready.They bring bags holding the masks out to customers using a cross-country ski pole.
Nadler said the company has hired back two stitchers it had laid off to bring the sewing crew up to five employees, while longtime staffer/jack of all trades Dennis McKinnon is helping update the website to better process orders.
He said he and partner Cort Hanson are helping to cut fabric while bookkeeper Ryan Fall is in charge of order fulfillment.