Echuca woman’s mask business, Bloom by Bee, is buzzing

By Alex Gretgrix

ECHUCA'S Abbey Williams has swapped her microphone for a sewing needle to make masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After spending more than a decade learning from her grandmother Heather Fullard, a costume designer in Echuca, the 22-year-old Melbourne singer decided to follow in her footsteps.

But instead of making costumes, Abbey's making masks.

“While I can't be in Melbourne studying, I needed something to do in between my online classes,” Ms Williams said.

“At the time there weren't many people making masks, so I decided to use my business, Bloom by Bee, to sell them.”

Her new venture comes after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews urged regional Victorians over the age of 18 to wear a face mask when unable to be socially distanced from others.

Abbey initially thought making the masks would be a way to make extra cash while studying online — but it quickly turned into a fully-fledged mask-making business.

“I didn't expect it to become so big,” she said.

“At the moment, I've made more than 150 masks and more orders than you can count. My phone is constantly going off with requests.

“I've sold them to police officers, teachers, hospital workers, parents and their kids — not just in Echuca-Moama, but around the country too.

“There have been parents who have told me they have children with autism and they've been struggling to find a mask that works for them.

“It's great to hear my masks are making a difference for not just them, but as many people as we can.”

Abbey said she used materials supplied by her grandmother and from businesses such as South Fabrics.

“It takes us about an hour to make three masks and that's with the help from a few of my family members,” Ms Williams said.

“Each mask has six pieces; cotton on the outside, a filter, lining and then another layer of cotton plus the elastic.”

For information, visit Bloom by Bee on Facebook.