Cape business leads mask ‘MOVEment’
By CJ HADDAD
One Cape Coral business is using its talents to provide resources that are in critical shortage throughout the medical community.
Dore Designs, a Cape Coral-based company that usually creates one-of-a-kind gowns for ballroom dancing, pageants and evening wear, will produce send 500 high-quality, 100-percent cotton protective masks, to heath facilities around the country that will assist in prolonging the use of N95 medical grade masks. Each mask has a non-woven fabric lining inside that works as a filter.
Dawn Smart, owner of Dore Designs, which has been in Cape Coral since 1979, is taking the lead on the manufacturing side of the “Million Masks MOVEment.”
Lyndean Brick, president and CEO of Advis, Inc., a healthcare consulting firm in Illinois, started the “MOVEment” when she combined her two passions; healthcare and ballroom dancing, and thought seamstresses in the dance world could do their part with competitions on hold.
Brick paired with Tony Dovolani, former Dancing with the Stars dance professional and Fred Astaire Dance Studios International Dance Director, and got the ball rolling. They then reached out to Smart.
“We are making a mask that will go over the N95, that will preserve the N95 so that medical personnel can wear it for longer sine they’re lacking so many of them,” said Smart, who was already looking to find a way to contribute to the medical industry.
“It all came together and was incredibly heartwarming to understand that we were actually going to help doctors be able to be safer by doing this.”
Medical resources in areas of the country that have seen a high number of cases of the COVID-19 virus are in great need.
Today, roughly 500 masks will be shipped from the Cape Coral business to medical facilities around the country. Production and distribution in Cape Coral will continue Monday through Friday each week, 500 masks being sent out each day.
Smart even adds a note from Dore Designs with a rhinestone, thanking them for their work, especially heath care workers on the front lines.
Smart is overseeing eight seamstresses at Dore Designs, as well as three seamstresses at Creative Canopy in San Francisco and three seamstresses at Dance America in Margate, Florida.
Health care professionals approved the masks during a test run over a video call.
Fabric purchases were made with help from Fred Astaire Dance Studio’s GoFundMe dedicated to the movement.
“Our frontline workers need our help. The MOVEment is an opportunity to assist them and keep these seamstresses employed,” Dovolani said, in a release. “But we need others’ help, every donation counts and will help us achieve our million mask goal.”
Smart said this project is not only a great way to serve the country in this climate, but helps employ a team that means the world to her.
“This is 100 percent helping us retain staff,” Smart said. “My team is everything to me. This team, keeping it together and keeping it working and making them less uncomfortable, was everything to me. Last Friday, when I was unclear of where we we’re going to be a week from now, I was terrified.”
She hopes this movement helps all of the businesses involved stay afloat in one way or another.
“This is absolutely, for all of the companies involved, an opportunity for them to help themselves in a way, but also really doing a good thing for the nation,” Smart said.
They even got a note after their first batch went out, thanking them for their professionally sewn masks.
“I’ve talked to many hospitals that are desperate for these masks,” Brick said. “Then I thought about all these seamstresses that are not working because people currently don’t need gowns for competitions. I thought if we could combine forces, we could really make a difference.”
For more information on Dore Designs, the Millions Masks MOVEment and to contribute, visit www.doredesigns.com.
— Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj