Currently working on “facial fashion” due to the pandemic-driven demand for face masks, Tracy LaFrance is a custom fashion designer and seamstress with about three decades of experience.
“I have been a designer and seamstress since I graduated from Fashion Design at Fanshawe College in the 1990s,” says Tracy, who has been producing and supplying masks to healthcare and other essential front-line workers in response to the shortage of medical-grade personal protective equipment earlier this spring.
“I produced my own design with fabric that is washable and reusable after much thought into fabric utilization and the ability to have a mask that fits most people with little adjustment.”
This ability to fulfill other people’s needs is what Tracy appreciates most about being an entrepreneur.
“I want customers to feel like they have a quality product that meets their individual needs.”
Self-employed for many years, she also values the personal power to manage her own business, control her own schedule and be her own boss.
“We are extremely important to the local economy,” Tracy says of small businesses. “As we just had the country and borders shut down, I believe many people value the skills, abilities and workmanship of local entrepreneurs even more than they did before. We faced many shortages of products, but our community worked together to help supply the demand for much-needed products to others locally. Going forward, I believe our local companies will continue to be supported by the community.”
One reason Tracy and other small businesses are finding such strong support is their insistence on high-quality materials.
“I select my supplies and materials based on quality,” she says. “I believe that you can never go wrong with the best available materials when producing a product people will use repeatedly. I try to source my materials locally when available.”
Keep an eye out for more custom designs in the future; however, for the time being, Tracy has her sights set on filling the demand for facial fashion for the foreseeable future.