Alum Tim Morrisette and Company Shift to Making Masks
Shoppers at men’s clothing store Contrary to Popular Belief are usually selecting t-shirts and sweatshirts, flannels and jeans. Comfort wear that, according to the company website, is created to make people feel valuable. When COVID-19 began spreading, the focus switched to making people feel safe, with a new priority on making face masks.
“We are small business owners, garment designers and producers who are trying to do what we can to provide a service and be part of the solution,” says Gonzaga alumnus, Tim Morrissette (’18).
When Morrissette and Contrary to Popular Belief’s founder, Connor White, began to understand the growing need the pandemic would have for facemasks, they wanted to join other garment makers in shifting production efforts to supply the demand. But they aren’t just making personal protective equipment – they’re also donating 10% of sales to health care organizations and nonprofits. The first organization they donated profits to is Union Rescue Mission in downtown, Los Angeles, an organization serving those who are homeless near Contrary to Popular Belief’s factory.
While not medically graded or FDA approved, Contrary to Popular Belief’s mask is made with multiple layers of woven antimicrobial canvas and a removable MERV-13 air filter. It features a nose bridge for shaping, and an around-the-head elastic system for a secure fit. The masks are for sale exclusively on contrarytopopularbelief.co; sold for $24 each, with pricing packages and discounts for bulk orders.
Having a safe working environment is important for Contrary to Popular Belief, and necessary for their permitted operations. All factory laborers are temperature tested when they arrive each day, wear personal protective equipment, and practice social distancing. Each worker also has a hand sanitization supply at their workstation for regular sanitizing.
Morrissette studied biology at Gonzaga and recently was accepted to Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing to become a nurse practitioner.