Sallie Cohen, co-founder of Positive Charge PDX has done it again when it comes to creative ways in helping the community. She has put the “fun” in functional with her recently launched Punim Protectors that features masks with Yiddish sayings. (Punim is Yiddish for face, in case you were wondering.)
We did a Q&A with Sallie on her latest endeavor.
SALLIE: I was lucky to grow up in a family that uses many Yiddish words and phrases to describe different situations and express different sentiments. Sometimes, there isn’t a better choice of words, including English words, than a rich and flavorful Yiddish saying to express exactly what you want to say. This year has been an exceptionally good year for Yiddish, especially when describing the numerous plagues we’ve experienced this year. “Oy!” is a frequent one. Wearing masks is so important right now, and I thought it would be fun to design excellent quality masks that would display this sweet and spicy language in various ways.
ORJL: What kind of research did you have to do before getting into the mask business?
SALLIE: I set out to find a company that makes masks with features I would wear in a mask: breathable, comfortable, washable, contoured around the nose, elastic ear loops, had at least two layers (per CDC guidelines), was customizable, and that had a decent turn-around time. It took a while, and finally found a sportswear company that makes the masks I design.
ORJL: What makes your masks stand out from other cloth masks?
SALLIE: They are comfortable! They have three layers of fabric, a wicking layer against your skin, and an additional pocket for a filter (or a slice of chocolate babka, your choice). The colors of the masks are delicious. Each one has an ombre-type design of a single color fading into a lighter color, or a single color transitioning into a different, coordinating color. The feedback has been great! Consistently, everyone who has purchased them has stated they are very comfortable and provide plenty of room to breathe. Different from so many masks, Punim Protectors include shipping, so the cost to ship is on me!
ORJL: Are they made in the United States?
SALLIE: The sportswear company is a U.S. company. Each mask is individually sewn in Mexico.
ORJL: What’s your favorite Yiddish phrase, and if it’s not on a mask, will it be soon?
SALLIE: This is a tough one. My favorite current mask is: Shayna Punim. My favorite current mask saying is: Don’t be a Tuchus. Wear a Mask. My favorite “sneak peek” mask saying is: “Hugs & Knishes.”
ORJL: I noticed you just have adult sizes. Are you planning on having children’s masks too?
SALLIE: Yes, I plan on having youth sizes in the future!
ORJL: Do you think approaching mask wearing with humor will help the topic become less controversial?
SALLIE: think the more desirable we make something we need to do (i.e. more convenient, more comfortable, more aesthetically pleasing), the more compliant people are likely to be. So, in this case – in addition to seeking out a company that makes a mask that, in this case, exceeds CDC guidelines for non-surgical masks – I took the necessary time to identify a company that could also create a mask people would enjoy wearing.
Sallie would love to see people take selfies in their Punim Protectors and share their photos @PunimProtectors. For more information, visit punimprotectors.com.