A pair of local wildlife photographers are using their images to give face masks a little more natural flair.
Over the past few years, Olds’ residents Keltie and Stan Masters have used their images on all types of clothing, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the need just wasn’t there.
Still, they didn’t think about jumping into the mask business until June and since, have sold close to 600 masks with their various wildlife images on them.
“I couldn’t believe it, our first post (on Facebook) we got like 200 comments on these masks,” said the Back to Nature Apparel founder.
Not only do their masks add a little touch of nature, but they also help wildlife initiatives. A portion of each mask sale goes towards different wildlife organizations in Alberta and this year alone, they’ve raised over $5,000 for those organizations.
“We hope to maybe double that next year, we’ll see,” Keltie said, adding they’ve been supporting wildlife rehab programs for the past five years with different apparel.
Masters says it takes about six weeks from designing the masks on a software program to the manufacturer sending back a test and then producing the mask.
She said that their masks are unique for a number of reasons beyond the image, including the fact they have filters, they have a metal band that shapes to the bridge of your nose and they come in both kids and adult sizes.
Her favourite and best selling mask is one with a picture of chickadees. Of course, that image is a rare one and comes with a unique story.
“We had chestnut black chickadee come to our feeder a couple of years ago. There were three of them there that winter and they aren’t even supposed to be in Alberta. It was – 30 C,” she recalled.
They also have masks with a moose, grizzly bears, wild roses and a red fox.
With COVID-19 closing a lot of farmer’s markets across Alberta, she said they’ve sold a fair amount of their masks online through their website and social media platforms.