Sudbury entrepreneur turning heads with mask designs
Article by CTV News Northern Ontario
SUDBURY — A Garson man laid off from his job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has turned his misfortune into a potential new career path.
While searching for something to do with his time, Justin Sawicz had an idea and ran with it.
“Things were really slow, I don’t like sitting still and had an idea for a couple of really cool masks, a play on words and fun things like that, so just decided to have some fun with it and build the website,” he explained.
Sudbury Masks was born and his designs have featured iconic landmarks, local politicians or sayings that some might say only a ‘Sudburian’ could appreciate.
From the Super Stack to an ode to the Stompin’ Tom classic “Sudbury Saturday Night”, so far it’s been a big hit.
“There have been a few of them that have been really big sellers, mostly the Sudbury-themed ones like we have one with the ‘Big Nickel’ on it that says ‘here’s my five cents,’ that one’s been really good,” he laughed.
The start-up is really a homemade effort in which Sawicz has been pressing each of the masks himself.
Some of his designs have been more tongue-in-cheek than others. They’ve taken shots at the Prime Minister, the city’s potholes, Highway 69 and an unnamed mayor but he adds it’s all in good fun.
“No punches pulled, no punches pulled,” he laughed.
“There’s a couple of them that I’ll say that haven’t sold just because I might have pushed the line a little too far but those ones I just wear myself. It’s all good.”
Sawicz’s website has caught the attention of several companies or not-for-profits looking to get their own masks made, including the Sudbury Women’s Centre, [who placed an order for custom masks with the Centre’s logo on them.]
So impressed with what he saw, he’s decided to donate a dollar from every mask sold until Mother’s Day to benefit the cause.
“So the funds that we raise through Justin’s company, we’ll be able to purchase shampoos, tooth paste, body wash, things that are needed right now. Those basic need items that our clients unfortunately sometimes can’t afford,” said the Sudbury Womens’ Centre’s Giulia Carpenter.
For now, Sawicz says he’s grateful for all the support and is thrilled to know Sudburians and Northerners alike are having fun with his creations.
He’s looking forward to seeing where this new path takes him.
“Ya working on some stuff to keep it going down the road, for now I’d call it still a side project, but ya, we’ll see where it goes,” he said.
“We’ll expand the product offering down the road and take it from there.”