By Emily Drooby
In Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, there’s a bridal shop called Lé Lauriér. It’s owned by designer Lauren Holovka.
Normally she creates couture gowns and bridal robes, but now she’s making masks for essential workers.
“As a business owner I have a lot of weddings and events, and all of my brides, they had to push back and postpone their weddings, or their bridal showers and their special events,” explained Lauren.
The $74 billion wedding industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus, with tens of thousands of couples forced to delay their nuptials. That includes some of Lauren’s clients.
“We are just working now on new dates and just trying to help everyone get through this,” she explained.
On top of that, all non-essential businesses in New York have had to shut their doors, including the Lé Lauriér storefront.
The closures could have a devastating impact on businesses. Analyst Deborah Weinswig, who founded Coresight Research, predicts that over 15,000 retail stores could close around the country this year.
According to the Department of Small Business Services, there are 230,000 small businesses in NYC.
Luckily for Lauren she’s been able to keep her business up and running from home.
She’s using the extra time to give back, making and bringing masks to those who need them most.
“So through this time we have freed up, these three weeks we can definitely create masks and help people,” she said.
She works with Sew4lives, a now nationwide volunteer group. The organization was launched during the beginning of the crisis by fellow Fashion Institute of Technology New York City alumni, Caroline Berti and Karen Sabag.
The volunteers use their own garment bags to create hospital-grade masks that follow CDC guidelines. They get most of their requests through the sew4lives Instagram account.
The group has donated over 6,400 masks.
“This situation is just so upsetting and heartbreaking so to be able to give back and help is just so rewarding, this is why we do what we do,” said Lauren.
The small business owners and designers are taking on all the costs themselves, not even accepting donations unless it’s cotton or medical-grade fabric.