It was one of those 3 a.m. “ah ha” moments. Brandelyn Tafoya, the woman behind the Lady 12 brand that makes football fan clothes that flatter women of various shapes and sizes, knew what she had to do next.
She was going to make masks out of extra Seahawk-inspired green and blue plaid scarves she had. This was a couple of months ago and there were massive mask shortages.
“Trial and error is an understatement. We had no idea how to make a mask, but we learned — the hard way,” said her husband, Joe Tafoya, former NFL player, now father and entrepreneur. “We reached into our network and found a local company willing to take on the challenge. We were told that they could deliver 300 masks per day, so we made a little video and a few Facebook posts to our audience. OMG! The orders came flying in at an alarming rate.”
The problem was when they went to pick-up the order, the masks were not made. In fact, the company didn’t even have sewing machines.
The scramble was on and the Tafoya’s taught themselves how to make the first round of masks by watching YouTube and spent several nights up until the wee hours making them. They almost gave up.
“Then our saving grace. I threw up a Hail Mary and called the best tailor I knew and begged her to help. Andrea Kim and Dora Lee from Lani’s Tailor in Redmond did such an amazing job that we were able to catch up and then get ahead! Crisis averted. Since then we have continued to make some of the masks with their help in making the majority. We have also improved our design,” Joe Tafoya said.
Making masks is bringing a new level of meaning to their clothing business. Making a quality mask that is dense, soft, and comfortable to wear helps set their design apart from others. Elastic straps wrap around the head, or the ears, and both styles are adjustable. They have made more than 3,000 masks and teamed up with a local wedding shop on the Eastside to help with production, and to supplement a neighboring business in need of work.
Lady 12 began in 2013 and the couple runs the business from their Redmond farm where they also homeschool their kids ages 6 to 9. In addition to making masks, they offered some homeschool tips online — even hatching some baby chicks for other kids learning from home to experience.
In addition to selling their masks along with their other Lady 12 offerings, they have been making a lot of mask donations to places such as Bloodworks Northwest, The Seattle Mariners office staff, and more.
Starting on June 26, Masks became mandatory in Washington state. Order Lady 12 masks here and receive masks in about 3-5 business days.