20,000 Etsy sellers have stepped up to make thousands of face masks to be sold on the e-commerce website; Etsy CEO Josh Silverman joins ‘America’s Newsroom.’
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Josh Silverman, the CEO of e-commerce website Etsy, discussed on “America’s Newsroom” on Tuesday a campaign that the website launched to help sellers and the American public during the coronavirus pandemic.
The campaign #StandWithSmall mobilized Etsy sellers to produce hundreds of thousands of fabric masks in the span of just a few days. Silverman called it a way for “Americans to help Americans.”
Silverman said once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended Americans wear facial coverings made of cloth while out in public to help stop the spread of the virus last week, he put out a call to sellers to make more cloth masks.
“Etsy has a community of about 2.7 million makers and these are people who are largely businesses of one working from home and they might make things like wedding dresses or jewelry,” he explained.
Silverman went on to say that “we’ve seen an overwhelming demand for fabric face masks over the past few days once the CDC changed its guidelines” to recommend people wear masks in public. However, masks are in short supply on the retail market and available supplies are being prioritized for hospitals and medical workers.
Several hospitals across the country have reported a shortage of personal protective equipment including face masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
The change in CDC guidelines signals a major shift in how officials are looking to combat the spread of COVID-19. The president, during a briefing with the White House coronavirus task force, said the recommendation is being made because of studies indicating asymptomatic people are spreading the virus.
Silverman said since putting the call out to Etsy sellers, about 20,000 individual sellers stepped up and started making fabric face masks.
“We’re producing now hundreds of thousands of face masks a day,” he said, adding that they can be personalized and customized.
“When you buy from one of the Etsy sellers, you are actually putting money in the pockets of another tax-paying American who’s often been hard hit by this economic crisis,” he went on to say.
According to Etsy data, face masks were searched nine times per second over the weekend and more than two million searches were conducted in total. The data also showed that there was a three-fold increase for selling face masks daily over the weekend.
“I think that Americans understand that they want to be buying fabric face masks that they can protect other people as best they can,” Silverman said, acknowledging that the masks are not full proof.
“We’re not making medical claims here, but we also want to protect the proper medical gear for the people who need it that are really on the front lines, and the sellers on Etsy have risen to the challenge in such an amazing way,” he said.
He encouraged others who are at home and may have a sewing machine to get involved.
“We’ve got a lot of materials available on Etsy that’ll show you the pattern that you need to use and give you tips and guidelines on how to get yourself up and running very quickly so that you can make some extra income and also help out your fellow citizens and help us all get through this crisis,” Silverman said.
For more information visit the company’s website.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.