SAN ANTONIO – Six months ago, Maggie Ibarra-Jimenez was embarking on a journey that she feared might change her life for the worse.
The city of San Antonio had issued an order for all non-essential businesses, including her Maddie Mac Boutique, to shut down indefinitely due to the coronavirus.
Ibarra-Jimenez, who sold handmade crafts at her Northwest side shop, wondered what her next move would be.
However, she said a friend, with whom she partners in a separate business, saw the future and made a suggestion.
“She told me, 'Maggie, you should make face masks,” Ibarra-Jimenez said. “Sewing was not my thing, but that quickly changed.”
With a sewing machine donated from yet another friend, she began to learn her way around a needle and thread.
Now, she can’t stop making masks because the demand for her hand-fashioned designs has grown tremendously.
She has even had to recruit her adult children to help on her assembly line.
“The leopard mask, people absolutely adore that. Anything to do with collegiate or depending on your profession,” she said, describing some of her creations.
Ibarra-Jimenez, a self-described “fashionista,” decided to turn the necessary into a fashion accessory.
And it appears there are plenty of mask wearers who agree with the concept.
“I’ll just get a style, like butterflies or pink with rhinestones on them,” said Faith Estrada, who at the time of the interview, was sporting a colorful face covering that she purchased in Houston.
Estrada said she prefers fancy masks to the basic paper type worn by medical professionals.
Betty Tarver, who was wearing a homemade light blue one, said she usually doesn’t give the issue much thought although others do.
“I’ve seen some that are really, really cute and they have sequins and jewels,” Tarver said.
For Avis Love, the white mask covered with musical notes that she wore held more sentimental value.
She said her son made it, himself, and gifted her with it.
However, when she gets a chance, she usually coordinates her masks with her clothing.
“I do have different ones,” she said. “My favorite is my black.”
Ibarra-Jimenez has trouble deciding which of her creations she likes best.
She is sure, though, that she won’t stop creating anytime soon.
“I don’t know how long we’re gonna be wearing these but most definitely we need to be comfortable,” she said. “And stylish, fashionable.”
For more on Maddie Mac Boutique, click here.