Francine Williams of Belle Couture at work in her shop. Submitted photo.

Belle Couture and Fabric Box add masks to their merchandise

The need to wear a mask in public remains real, and with so many people and businesses selling them, obtaining one is not difficult.

Francine Williams of Vankleek Hill is a fashion designer and maker who sells her fashion accessories and children’s clothing through her online business, Belle Couture.  After 40 years in the business, including in the Montréal fashion industry, she has added masks for all to her product line.

“Everybody needs masks, so why not?” said Williams.

She said they are easy to make, all it takes is cutting off a little piece of fabric.

Williams sets high standards for herself when making her regular products, which include moccasin-style slippers and jackets for children, but also handbags and backpacks.  The same high standards are in the fashionable looking masks she is making from various stylish fabrics.

“I like very fine work,” Williams said.

The Belle Couture masks are 95 per cent cotton and five per cent polyester.  They also have a pocket in them so an extra piece of fabric or a filter can be inserted.  Williams is also beginning to add a thin wire to the masks so they may fit securely over the wearers nose.  The masks are one-size-fits most and are washable and reusable.

Williams said adapting to producing a new product has not been difficult.

“It’s my passion,” she said.

Belle Couture has a one-person assembly line, operated by Williams and her eight sewing machines.

Williams relies on online sales and usually attends seven or eight craft and artisan shows each year to sell her products.  She plans to continue show sales once it is safe for them to resume.

Selling online is a challenge, due to the shipping costs, according to Williams.  She said that shipping can end up costing as much or more than the cost of the product.  However, mask sales are going well right now, Williams said.

Belle Couture masks are available for sale for $12 each with free shipping within Canada at https://www.bellecouture-fw.com/

Fabric Box

The Fabric Box at 371 Main Street East in downtown Hawkesbury has also entered the mask trade.  Employees at the sewing and quilting supply shop made a few masks for friends and then decided to sell them at the store.  The handmade washable and reusable masks come in different sizes, can be customized, and have a pocket in them to insert filter material.  They sell for $10 to $12 each.


James Morgan

James Morgan is a freelance contributor. He has worked for several print and broadcast media outlets. James loves the history, natural beauty, and people of eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

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