Local entrepreneur pivots business to ease medical staff ears

By Andrea Arnold


McBride entrepreneur Michelle Gredling, owner of Sparrow Hat Company, has started making headbands that have buttons above the ears. The buttons are positioned so health care professionals can secure their masks to the headbands rather than around their ears. 

“I’m offering them completely free of charge as a thank you to those working on our frontlines,” said Gredling. 

Women have messaged her telling her their ears are blistered and bleeding from wearing masks during 12+ hour shifts.

Kamloops RIH Family Doctor Jenn Olsen received her headband before her Monday shift. The headbands have been shipped to health care workers across the country. /SUBMITTED

Gredling said the idea came from a B.C.-based scrunchie business that started making these and were flooded with requests.

“They started asking anyone with a sewing machine if they could help meet demand,” said Gredling. With her sewing experience, Gredling gladly stepped up.

“I couldn’t believe how fast they got spoken for,” she said. “Or how incredibly grateful the women were for these headbands.” 

Gredling has sent her first batch to health workers all over Canada – from Prince George to Nova Scotia.

“It was very rewarding to help them out and brighten their day,” she said.

Gredling plans to continue production as soon as she is able to acquire more supplies. 

“I’m still getting messages of hopeful health care workers hoping to get one,” she said. “If anyone has elastic or buttons they want to donate to me I will put them to good use as these items are increasingly harder to find online.”   

If people would like to join Gredling in making them, they can check out shophavenohlee.com/blogs/haven-ohlee-blog/covid-19-heroband for the easy-to-follow pattern.

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