A Spoonful of Digital Helps COVID-19 Go Down

Robert Zoch
May 3, 2020

Durham, North Carolina-based Spoonflower has long served as a model customer for Kornit’s roll-to-roll, digital direct-to-fabric print technology, building a successful brand by offering consumers custom-designed decorated materials in any quantity, for a nearly limitless range of apparel, home décor, accessories, and do-it-yourself applications. After years of success with the Kornit Allegro system, they were one of the first to add the new Kornit Presto system to their arsenal in 2019.

While facial masks had not been a traditional part of Spoonflower’s portfolio, they recognized the business was uniquely situated to fulfill that demand when it arose.

“We’re a global brand and saw the impact COVID-19 was having in Asia and Europe,” says Michael Jones, their CEO. “When the warning signs arose here in the United States, our sewing team came to us and said we have the technology, and the capacity, to help.”

Within 48 hours, Spoonflower had produced mask prototypes and consulted with local healthcare professionals to ensure they could produce masks meeting necessary quality requirements.

“I was inspired by how quickly our workforce was able to bring this initiative together,” says Jones, who added Spoonflower has reorganized its office space to ensure its team has enough space to print, cut, sew, and ship its products while observing social distancing measures. To the furthest extent possible, employees have been working from home.

While initial efforts focused on providing masks to the North Carolina medical community, within a week Spoonflower had engaged with its 1.8 million creators and entrepreneurs to expand the effort far and wide. In less than a month, their community has accessed fabric to make more than an estimated 154,000 masks.

Beyond this program, which Spoonflower calls the Mask Response Project, business proceeds as usual, albeit with necessary concessions due to the extraordinary circumstances.

“Like many companies, we’ve had to extend our order handling time to accommodate these changes,” says Jones. “We’re grateful for our community of creatives, designers, artists, and makers who are understanding and supportive of all the measures we’re taking to deliver for them and keep our team safe.”