Danica Salajko usually spends her days making and selling bathing suits. But in the age of COVID-19, her sewing machine is furiously churning out only one thing: masks.
“My website went crazy for the masks. Like I’d put them up and I was like ‘What’s going on?’ Like it just went insane,” said Salajko, the owner of Bathing Belle.
She says it’s been hard to keep up with demand.
Masks are a completely new business for the swimwear designer who opened her first brick and mortar store in Toronto two years ago.
“When I found out the stores all had to close. I thought ‘what am I going to do?’ So that’s why I started to make the masks. I got these fun prints, and I think that they’ll make people smile and make you feel safe when you’re walking around in public,” she said.
The masks are made of repurposed bathing suit material. She sells them mainly through Shopify, a Canadian e-commerce platform.
Amid the outbreak, business has been booming for Shopify.
The company’s chief technology officer tweeted ‘…Our platform is now handling Black Friday level traffic every day!”
Rival Etsy has also seen traffic surge.
Etsy and Shopify are both on the NASDAQ in the U.S.. Both of their shares initially fell when the coronavirus outbreak hit the U.S. but now their shares are soaring making them one of the best stocks to own right now.
Wedding and jewelry revenue have dropped for Etsy but games and puzzles have done well. This as more people than ever are sheltering in.
Tom Forte, an equity analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co. in New York says Etsy is also benefiting from record unemployment.
“So when you think of 30 million job losses in six weeks and you think of kind of the great recession. Well they talk about the side hustle. So for Etsy, they’re clearly going to have more sellers looking either to supplement their income or have income,” he said.
Many Etsy sellers are focused on making masks, an entirely new category for the e-commerce giant. Forte says the boost from that could last a while.
“This extended period of time without a vaccine those masks are going to be a requirement. So, I think that the next two-year period is setting up very well for both Etsy and for Shopify,” he said.