by Karen Alberg Grossman

Although it was not an intentional strategy, one clothing company has successfully survived this past year by creating a really successful cloth mask business through Amazon. Explains Gary Adelman from Trybus, “By utilizing our amazing Vietnam-based apparel manufacturer, we are currently the third-largest cloth mask seller on Amazon, just behind Under Amour, which is #1.”

The relationship between Trybus and Amazon dates back to early 2020 when Trybus created an exclusive apparel line for Amazon called Craft & Soul. Says Adelman, “Last year, we immediately answered Amazon’s request to start producing cloth masks just after the pandemic really took hold. We sold our first cloth mask on Amazon, under the Craft & Soul brand, in May of 2020, and since then have sold over 1.4 million masks. The demand now is stronger than it’s ever been: we expected it to end but since Biden’s election, business has increased.” The Craft & Soul masks are value-priced and sold in five-packs that range from $10-$14 (in both two-and-three-ply versions).

As for the clothing business, Adelmam is realistic. “It’s been brutally tough,” he confides. “Not only have we lost so many great stores but the factors got burned so they’re not extending credit. Everyone’s counting on pent-up demand for tailored clothing but clearly, consumer lifestyles and shopping behaviors have changed and our industry has yet to figure out how to transition from tailored to casual. As for Trybus, we’ve become a major PPE provider, which is a whole different level business but an interesting pivot. Our next venture: a more fashionable scrub line for healthcare providers.”