Name: Jameelah Luster, owner and operator of Jameelah's Creative Creations
Shop: 730 Ross Ave., Wilkinsburg, PA 15221
What led you to start making masks?
I went to a grocery store and someone sneezed. I had no mask on and I said ‘never again.’ I went home, made a mask for myself, and posted it [to see] if people would like to buy [masks] and they did.
What considerations did you make when designing and developing masks?
I make sure that they can stand the lighter test. [The test indicates the effectiveness of a mask in preventing respiratory droplets, when the wearer can no longer blow out a lighter or candle while wearing it.]
What challenges have you encountered while mask making?
So many, but one that really was hard for me was the fact that so many essential workers did not have masks. That blew my mind. Also, finding seamstresses to help me with a large order.
What fabrics do you use?
I use cotton fabric, neoprene, Ankara African fabric, and stretch knit fabric.
Can people purchase your masks, and if so, where?
Yes, they can purchase them in the store or on my website.
You recently opened a storefront in Wilkinsburg — what has expanding your business been like during the pandemic? What all does your shop entail?
It has been total insanity, but being an entrepreneur is total insanity on a personal level and professional level. I just put my faith where my fear is.
I love working with the youth and women in my community. I sell all-natural skin care, deodorant, toothpaste, oils, and perfume. I sell retail and hand sewn clothing. I also reupholster furniture. I'm sort of a Renaissance woman.