Creative Hub

The Brave Seamstress - How a Freiburg Woman Makes a Virtue out of Necessity

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Anne Tu Quoc sews shoes and accessories for toddlers with her “Petit Mai” label. The Corona crisis brought business almost to a standstill. But when a door closes, another opens in another place: her brother, a doctor at a hospital, requested her to sew protective masks. And out of nowhere, it developed into a real business, with which she still supports the stock of the protective masks in Switzerland.

With her label Petit Mai, Anne Tu Quoc designs and produces moccasins for toddlers in Freiburg, with lots of love and everything by hand. In March, she would have had various appointments with dealers and suppliers as the Creative Business Coaching of Creative Hub had given Anne's business an extra boost in the past few months and she now offers her moccasins to a wide range of Swiss specialty stores.

But then the Corona virus came: the shops closed, the appointments were canceled, sales halted. As for many creative people, the shock was great and the crisis was an existential threat. But it is precisely in such crisis situations that creative thinkers are in demand: Anne's brother, who is a front-line doctor in the corona crisis, asked her to sew protective masks out of fabric, because he feared that the supply in the hospital would likely not be sufficient.

Anne quickly got to work. She got on the Internet, educated herself, asked experts and developed her own cut from different models. The end product is convincing: the masks are reusable because they can be washed in the washing machine at 95 degrees. The soft cotton fabric is comfortable to wear, and the masks can be adjusted with adjustable rubber bands and a nose wire on the face. In addition, the masks have a pocket in which a filter can be inserted. 

The first masks were sold out within a very short time. Anne has sold over 400 masks in the past ten days, a large number of them to her brother's medical colleagues. First, she sewed the masks out of materials that she still had in stock. But after only a few days, she had to reorder new fabric to fulfill the orders coming in.

Anne demonstrates flexibility: in just a few days, she switched 90 percent of her production to the production of protective masks and hired a tailor and two pensioners to help with the production. How does she do it all? She says, “Luckily, my partner is now also working from home, so we can share childcare. And at the same time, the children force me to go out into nature at least once a day because I work a lot more than before the Corona crisis.” But she does not want to complain: "I am glad that I am not having any financial problems due to this state of emergency and that I can continue to support myself financially 100 percent." 

With her courage to take the initiative for her business, Anne has found a way through the Corona crisis — all the while making a contribution to protecting against the corona virus. We say: Bravo!

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