Western Alumna, Juliet Young, started Clip n’ Cover last year when she found herself constantly forgetting a mask while out. That was when a unique idea popped into her head. She thought: what better way to ensure that your mask is always at your fingertips than to have it attached to a keychain?
Clip n’ Cover is a line of reusable masks with clips attached that fold into a little pocket. The clip can hook onto a belt loop, dog leash, bag, or pretty much anything. As the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all, Clip n’ Cover is there to help with the additional step of bringing a mask. A portion of all proceeds is donated to Parkinson’s Canada, talk about giving back while keeping the community safe!
What inspired you to start Clip n’ Cover?
A few weeks after the mask mandate began in Ontario, I found myself constantly forgetting my mask when I needed it most. I said to a friend at the time, “someone has to invent a mask that attaches to your car keys so that you don’t forget it when you leave the house.” They replied, “Why don’t you do it?” One thing led to another, and Clip n’ Cover became my side-hustle. That was just over one year ago, and Clip n’ Cover has been going strong ever since!
How are the masks made?
All the masks are hand-made in Toronto by yours truly. Each step in the Clip n’ Cover creation process is done by me personally, from selecting the patterns, cutting the fabric, sewing the pieces, and packaging the orders. Clip n’ Cover masks are 100% cotton with adjustable elastics to provide you with the perfect fit. They have a convenient built-in pocket so that you can fold up your mask (“cover”) into the pocket and “clip” it to your key-chain, purse, belt, hair scrunchie, or anything else—hence the name “Clip n’ Cover”!
Do you find it more of a challenge to be taken seriously since it is a young, female-found company? How do you feel running a business at such a young age?
While it can be difficult managing a business as a young and busy female entrepreneur, I actually find these aspects of myself to be two of my greatest strengths. Being female allows me to inspire other females to act on their ideas. Being young allows me the luxury of time to learn and grow. That being said, regardless of your age, gender, or business experience, if you have an idea, I say go for it. In the best-case scenario, you’ll succeed, and in the worst-case scenario, you’ll learn something.
What challenges have you faced while launching Clip n’ Cover did you run into any unexpected issues?
I started Clip n’ Cover in July of 2020 when most of the retail stores hadn’t started selling their own masks yet. Reusable/non-medical masks were just becoming popular. Most people were reluctant to purchase a reusable mask, thinking that the pandemic would last only a few months. As the year went on almost every retailer released their own line of masks and I found it difficult to compete with them. As a result, rather than focusing on the reusability aspect, I focused on the functionality. I shifted my marketing tactics to highlight the convenience and portability of my product – the fact that you can attach the mask to just about everything and never forget it. I believe this is what makes my product unique and I used this aspect to my advantage to overcome the competition I faced when launching Clip n’ Cover.
Are you impressed with the success of the company? How has Clip n’ Cover grown in the past year?
When I first started Clip n’ Cover, I didn’t even own a sewing machine. I created the very first prototype by hand with a thread and needle I found in my mom’s dresser. It was only after I began showing my masks to friends and family that I realized this could become a real marketable product. I did some research, purchased my first sewing machine, and the rest is history! So yes, I am definitely surprised and humbled with the success Clip n’ Cover has had. Over the past year I have expanded our team to include three of the most incredible interns. I also brought on two very skilled marketing managers (who also happened to be my roommates), and they have increased our Instagram following by almost 50% I feel so lucky to work alongside such incredible women who inspire me each and every day.
Why did you choose Parkinson’s Canada as the charity?
Over the past few years both my maternal grandfather and aunt have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. My late great grandmother, with whom I had a very close relationship, also suffered from Parkinson’s disease. With an academic background in biology and genetics, I understand the hereditary risk associated with my family. I feel that it’s my duty to do whatever I can to help fund research aimed at finding a cure for people with the disease, and mitigate the risk for future generations. In the future, I hope to complete a Masters degree in Genetic Counselling and pursue my passion by specializing in genetics as it pertains to Parkinson’s disease.
Now that Canada has majority of people with 1 dose of the vaccine, how does this impact Clip n’ Cover?
With Ontario easing restrictions and vaccination rates increasing, I think people are optimistic that the mask mandate will come to an end in Ontario, seeing that it has in much of the United States. Rather than receiving a high volume of individual orders, I am now receiving more orders in bulk for retail, gifts, or special events. While the end of the mask mandate might slow down business, my ultimate goal is to provide as many masks to those who need them, and return to a normal world.
What are your future plans for Clip n’ Cover?
Clip n’ Cover will always be my first real business venture, and I am so thankful to have had this opportunity, no matter how long it lasts. I think that we are finally starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel, which is bitter-sweet in terms of Clip n’ Cover. While I would love to continue making masks, I am hopeful for a future where masks are no longer needed. Until that day comes, Clip n’ Cover will continue.