It’s 3:50AM as I write this. I’m sure your inbox has been filled these days with warnings or pledges about COVID-19, but this email is to give you a quick update into what’s going on at Oliberté and what we’re are trying to do to help.
As many of you and your lives have come to a standstill, so has our business and brand. While we are still open and offering 30% off our site right now until further notice, the orders aren’t big enough to cover our costs. It’s just how it is, as I fully realize and agree there are more important purchases to make at a time like this.
In saying that, due to the effect on our business, I have had to make some really hard decisions once again. In late 2018, when I closed our factory in Ethiopia, I couldn’t handle the pain of letting go of 110 people who helped build the Company. But we somehow shifted production to Canada and started to slowly see better times. Then COVID-19 arrived and KABOOM.
In the last days I have asked my staff, who can, to work from home while I remain in our warehouse on my own. Additionally, I have once again done the hardest thing for me as an owner and said goodbye to important people that shaped Oliberté. The impact these decisions make on the people I care deeply about are in no way easy. If my life is changed temporarily, their lives are changes forever. While hard, I have to accept that.
Yet, In times like this, I could very well fold or I can fight. I always choose fight. And today it’s fight COVID-19. But how? I’m just a shoe guy. What can I do?
Given the current situation, I have worked hard with some of our partners in China that have retrofitted their shoe factories asap, and I have been able to source production of 50,000 N95 masks per day and 500,000 surgical masks per day. These masks are FDA compliant and this week Oliberté applied in Canada for it’s medical device importers license with Health Canada to allow us to bring these masks into Canada.
As many of you are aware these masks are in high demand right now and VERY short supply. In just the last 48 hours, Oliberté is already working with Charities, Governments, Businesses and groups to get much needed masks in the hands of those who needed it now and we will start delivering our first masks next week. I’m not Facebook or Apple in terms of having the ability to give these masks away, though I wish I could. But I am working hard to get the best pricing possible and pass through our costs to get these masks to end users asap.
I have friends that are doctors that cannot perform their duties and take care of patients because there is not enough masks. I know of cancer patients that have had their surgery cancelled because there are not enough masks in our hospitals for the doctors to perform these life-saving operations.
I have been asked in the last days, but as of now I am not looking to sell these on our website as I am trying to mobilize my resources to get the most amount of masks to our front line people asap in the US, Canada and around the world. In addition frankly, I don’t have the resources at this time to sell them individually.
But you can help us too. If you know someone in a position to make key decisions in any level of government, or at an essential company or charity that are in desperate need for masks, you can have them email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send them all the details.
So that’s the update. We’re trying to keep the lights on so that when better days come, we are ready and here to bring the best Made in Canada boots to your feet. Until then, we will continue to work on bringing much needed masks or related health products so we can beat COVID-19.
Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.