Two childhood friends and entrepreneurs from Henley-in-Arden are staving off the pandemic’s impact on their businesses by collaborating on a timely new community venture.
They’re also supporting neighbouring local charity Molly Olly’s Wishes which will receive a percentage of the profits.
Both businesses, which have been forced to close throughout lockdown, are already seeing a huge demand for the masks from other local firms.
Ste Barrett, owner of Henley Printing, which designs and prints clothing and uniforms, said: “Early demand has been crazy. We received 150 orders in the first 24 hours alone and it’s not stopped since. Most local businesses have now ordered the customised masks, including restaurants, pubs, butchers, builders, and hairdressers. Not just logos – we’ve also had orders for rainbows, smiley faces and even football club emblems.
“We feel that as we are nearing the end of lockdown the need for facemasks is vital in keeping ourselves healthy therefore hopefully taking the strain off the NHS.
Ste, who is being supported in his efforts by his girlfriend Sally James, added: “Having been friends for years, we have helped each other out business wise with uniform making and helping each other source materials and suppliers, so decided to collaborate on this new venture as we are all out of work due to the coronavirus, this way helping both of our businesses to survive as well as helping the community to stay safe.”
Tom Cross took over the running of Henley House from his father Adrian recently, a few years after moving from Birmingham. The specialist High Street menswear and grooming business, has been flooded with orders from local firms, all attracted to the customised concept.
And he wasted no time in bringing his friend – and fellow businessman – Ste – on board.
“I needed to come up with an idea of something to keep the business afloat because our main source of revenue, weddings, have all been postponed. I also have a barber’s in the shop as part of the business and we have no idea how long it’s going to be before that is allowed to carry on either,” said Tom.