Crafting a Difference

Sarah Milks and her small boutique take on mask making

Ally Pruente

In a time where masks are as much of a necessity as your wallet and car keys, senior Sarah Milks adapted her small boutique, SarahJo’s Designs, and added homemade face coverings to her inventory list.

 Her boutique started off as a simple love of creating. 

“When I was about 6 or 7, I started buying transfer paper and printing designs out to iron on my shirts,” Milks said. “They turned out horrible, but the idea of making shirts has always been an interest to me.”

One year for Christmas, Milks’ family bought her a Cricut machine, a tool that cuts fabrics and other materials for crafting. This is when she really began to perfect her craft. After making some custom products for her family and friends, Milks decided it was time to start selling her work. 

“I have an Instagram account (@sarahjosdesigns) where I post all of my products, Milks said. “If someone sees something they like or want a custom order it is easiest to DM (direct message) me.” 

Masks have quickly become Milks’ fastest selling item but in addition to them, her small shop offers custom shirts, hats, earrings and digital prints. She hopes to start making stickers to sell soon, and thinks they might outsell her masks. 

“For a mask I need four pieces , so I do a cut in a patterned material and then a cut on a solid color,” Milks said. “Then I sew them together.”

Milks’ masks are made using comfortable elastic to go around your ear, a simple one colored piece of fabric on the inside, and a pattern of the customer’s choice on the outside. Overall it takes approximately eight to 10 minutes to create one mask.  All her work takes focus and attention to detail. 

“I have messed up quite a few masks by the fabric getting folded during the sewing process,” Milks said. 

When it comes to the many products that SarahJo’s Designs offers, Milks had to teach herself the crafting process. T-shirts and earrings are just two examples of things Milks taught herself to make. She also came up with all her own designs with some help from social media. 

“I had to find ways to make my own designs, but some helpful tips I found along the way were through Facebook groups,” Milks said. 

Giving back to the community and simply making people happy was a high priority for Milks. Once her business took off, the profit from every mask she sold was donated to Children’s Mercy. Milks also changed her logo to an S and a J placed in the middle of a sun. 

“I really want people to be happy wearing the things I make,” Milks said.” I want to make them feel like a ray of sunshine on any day.”