Toronto retailer Peace Collective adapting to keep up with strong demand for masks
The Toronto retailer responsible for those "Toronto vs. Everybody" sweatshirts has transitioned to selling and donating non-medical masks in the age of the pandemic, and the demand has been stronger than they could ever have imagined.
Peace Collective came to fruition back in 2014 after the founder wore his first "Toronto vs. Everybody" t-shirt to a Raptors game. Since then, the company has been offering all kinds of locally-branded clothing in an effort to spread Canadian pride throughout the country.
Still, every company has had to adapt in one way or another during these unprecedented times, which is why they're now focusing on producing masks instead of their usual apparel.
"We started making our masks in April and it was due to an overwhelming amount of requests from our customers, as well as at the suggestion of one of our factories in Toronto," said Roman Hessary of Peace Collective.
"They had seen their apparel business evaporate and thought making masks would give them a chance to rehire their seamstresses and keep them employed during a tough time."
Since then, they've been selling Canadian-made washable masks as well as filters that can be placed in the mask for added protection.
"There has been a strong demand since launch," Hessary said, and that's no overstatement.
Comments on the retailer's Instagram page indicate that they've had some trouble keeping up with the consistently high demand, and they're now making several changes in an effort to improve delivery wait times.
As a result of some complaints about issues and delays, the company put out a statement on Instagram this past weekend outlining the steps they're taking to remedy the problem.
"We have added more members to our fulfillment team to ship out more orders efficiently while maintaining social distancing," they wrote. "Our support team has doubled in size and we're working on weekends to answer all emails in 1-2 business days. We've also added FedEx as a shipping option to provide a quicker and more secure alternative to Canada Post."
Hessary said they've also set a three-week timeline for mask order fulfillment, which they're able to maintain. Though this is obviously longer than their regular timelines, Hessary said the extra safety precautions they're taking have inevitably resulted in longer wait times.
But despite some difficulty keeping up with demand, Peace Collective has managed to successfully operate two charitable initiatives to help in the fight against COVID-19.
First, they're donating three meals for every garment sold from their "Home is..." collection, and this is being done through partnerships with various food banks across the nation.
The retailer is also donating masks to frontline workers through their "buy one, give one" mask program, which sees one mask donated for every mask purchased. So far, they've committed to donating more than 4,000 masks to various organizations in need.
Hessary added that Peace Collective had several new collections in the pipeline before the pandemic began — including a few notable collaborations — and he and the rest of the company are looking forward to releasing them in the near future.
"We're doing the best we can given the circumstances and operating while following all government mandated guidelines for COVID-19," Hessary said.
"Our head office team has all been working remotely and our fulfillment team has been working in smaller shifts. It was challenging at first, but we are making great strides and gelling really well as a company."
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