By Karina Ramos Villalobos
COVID-19 has created a demand for facial coverings worldwide and it has created a new form of fashion through it. Kaori Maciel has learned to create facial coverings to fulfill the need for them in her community in Eureka.
With the number of businesses closed or shut down due to the on-going pandemic, local business owner Maciel began making masks while she had no prior experience and sells them in her store, Little Japan.
“I didn’t know how to make masks.
I started looking up [a mask] pattern online after
the mask mandatory was issued and
have been using the one from [the] Japanese website.”
Maciel uses her skills to produce cotton, nose wire masks with a sewing machine she received as a wedding gift and fabric that she purchased in Japan.
Maciel was born and raised in Japan near Hiroshima and came to the United States to pursue her college career 25 years ago.
Maciel first began to pursue her career as an English as a second language (ESL) student at San Jose City College with students who identify themselves as ESL students. Later, she moved to Humboldt County to focus on studying English and eventually graduated with a journalism degree.
As a college graduate, Maciel hasn’t practiced her career because between the years of her graduating, she started a family and began the process of building her business.
A local customer, Chloe Hammond, bought one of Maciel’s handmade face masks after she found out about the store through their Facebook page and says that they are very comfortable and breathable while wearing.
“I like that she adds a noseband for better coverage and the fabrics she uses are amazing, I get a lot of compliments on my masks when I wear the ones she made,” Hammond said. “I also like that she has multiple sizes, the ones for kids fit my daughter well.”
Maciel’s facial coverings are priced at $7 and are designed with patterned fabric.
“What I especially like are the fabrics and the reasonable prices,’’ customer Nici Filteau said. “I also love shopping there in general.”
Maciel always tries to have as many masks possible in her store however, she usually sells out by Friday every week.
“I always have masks for sale when Little Japan is open which is Thursday, Friday, and Saturday [at 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.],” Maciel said.