PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland hat company is turning some of its energy in the direction of making face shields to protect medical and frontline first responders.
Findlay Hats is a classic definition of small business. As such, they’ve been horrified at the outset of the pandemic — but that horror has eased up some as more people have turned to buy things online. Meanwhile, Findlay Hats has found time to chip in and help out.
It is a business that started in a living room six years ago, eventually moving into a garage. Now Findlay Hats employs 14 people at its facility in North Portland. Their hats have unique design elements, featuring drawstrings that drop down over the brim and attach under the chin to keep the hat on your head when skiing, skateboarding or standing in a stiff wind.
During the pandemic, Findlay has modified some equipment to help frontline medical workers protect themselves from the virus by making face shields.
“We’ve made close to 20,000 of these now and supplied a lot of different medical groups across the west coast, from large chain medical groups all the way down to small free clinics to individuals that just need help,” Jimmy Hickey of Findlay Hats said. “We’ve sold some and we’ve donated some.”
Pivoting your business to make medical-grade face shields by adding clean rooms and production tents is not typically top of mind for most small business owners, many of whom are simply focused on staying in business. As online sales have increased, however, Findlay has so far survived the storm and are turning some of their attention to helping others get through the pandemic.
“We have them on our website, we’ve been doing anyone who wants one we’ll send them free of charge,” Hickey said. “It’s been a nice mix of sales and selling them to keep the lights on to keep the project going in scale, so we can also provide them free of charge to anyone who asks.”
This is a next-generation company, thriving online as the pandemic wears on — and finding some spare time in the process of surviving to help slow the spread of the virus.