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Student launches website connecting consumers with mask makers

Ariela Libova” width=
Courtesy of Ariela Libova
Mountain View High freshman Ariela Libova created a free platform that links people who need masks to mask makers.

A Mountain View High School freshman has launched a free website to connect consumers with mask makers across the nation.

Ariela Libova, the driving force behind the Makefor.us website, said she created the platform last month after noticing the price barriers and shipping delays for purchasing masks that prevent the spread of coronavirus. Makefor.us matches those in need of masks with makers across the country, based on different factors such as cost and customization.

“Unless you know somebody personally who (makes) masks, it’s always kind of sketchy when you ask for something online,” Libova said. “But being able to have this (platform) where you can personally talk to a maker and just kind of connect with them, I think is very useful.”

Those who are adept at sewing can sign up to make masks through the website, where they fill out a form with their email address, ZIP code, sewing experience and minimum cost for a mask.

Makers also can specify whether they are willing to donate free masks for those in need.

Free mask requests are listed on the website with a ZIP code; anyone interested in donating masks can provide their email address to connect with the requester. A similar form is used to request masks, where customers enter their email address, mask specifics such as size and fabric choices, and price they are able to pay. The forms reduce the amount of personal information people share through the website, Libova said.

The website has reached users in the Bay Area and in states ranging from Washington to Maine.

Libova said the website was a family effort, as they collaborated to use their software engineering backgrounds to create and test the website.

The family has already updated the site’s messaging system and the questionnaires that allow buyers to request specifics, like rush delivery or embroidery, she said. After the pandemic is over, Libova said the site will live on as a marketplace for personalized goods.

“I’m just really happy to be doing things for the community,” the Mountain View resident said.

Truc Wilson, a nursing student at De Anza College, became a Makefor.us maker after hearing about the platform from Libova’s mother, a nursing instructor. Wilson had already been making masks for friends and family in the Bay Area and decided to join the site to help a larger community.

“Thanks to the website, I get to connect with people even out of state or wherever that they need masks,” Wilson said.

She added that the “convenient (and) cost-effective” website saves mask makers the time of seeking out customers by connecting them through email with those looking for masks. Wilson said she just makes masks at home to have them ready in advance for the next buyer.

“It’s really good that we have this kind of platform in a time where people don’t want to spend a lot of money, we want to save money,” Wilson said. “But we also want to help and (with) online shopping. Shipping has been delayed, so I think it’s great. Having this website really helps ease the anxiety.”

For more information, visit makefor.us.

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