We’d love to know you’ve read this entire page, but we’ll also understand if you want to quickly scroll to the bottom and apply. 😉
The pandemic is both a public health emergency and an economic crisis. Since March, we’ve rallied hundreds of volunteers to sew masks for hospitals, congregate care centers, and essential workers in our communities.
During this time, we’ve received so many requests to purchase masks that we’ve also now set up separate sales channels to help solve the economic aspect of this crisis through fair compensation revenue streams for independent contractors.
While we continue to support our volunteers with infrastructure and supplies, we have now also created a channel to increase mask production via compensated sewing gigs.
After several weeks of testing with a very small handful of sewists (and subsequently jumping into production work over here to understand some of the kinks we were running into), we’re finally ready to consider and begin working with folks interested in this opportunity.
We’ve fielded some questions about expectations for paid pieceworkers, and want to make sure we’re clear about this:
We have multiple product streams and labor streams currently active in the mask-making effort (and we’ll do our best to avoid having this get confusing):
- Volunteers who’ve registered at junkethelps.org are supporting each other in gathering materials for – and sewing/delivering – donated masks in our community. These masks are accessible via maskmvmt.org & donategoodstuff.org.
- We are sewing our own line of masks in house using vintage junket materials and, where requested, printed with swear words, because it’s kind of what we’re known for (and swears are scientifically proven to reduce pain…a worthy consideration as we confront the human impacts of a global health pandemic). These are also separate and distinct from this sewing program, and they are intended to support Junket’s overhead and social organizing/change-making efforts. These masks are being sold on our Etsy site: etsy.com/shop/shopjunket
- Buy One, Give One mask sales channel intended to give our community a channel to directly support paid community production and donation of masks here in Minneapolis.
With this application, we are inviting people to sew on a piecework basis for this third ‘Buy One, Give One’ product stream.
Our twofold goal is to enthusiastically support those for whom this opportunity produces a path forward out of economic uncertainty, and to allow those considering the option to quickly determine if this is a good fit for them.
As we venture into the brave new world of at-scale remanufacture within the framework of a global pandemic, ensuring that we’ll be able to honor our commitment to creating meaningful income-producing opportunities is a top priority. We’ve put a lot of thought into setting pay rates that are not only fair while demand is high, but that we can continue to pay as supply chain constraints ease and competition enters the market.
While our current demand is primarily retail, we’ve also fielded wholesale inquiries, where margins will be significantly lower. We want to keep pay consistent regardless of the product stream. We know we will be competing in the market against local organizations paying just $1/mask. We believe our value proposition: environmentally ethical, community oriented work opportunities with built-in flexibility – is one that matters to enough humans to justify a higher price point. We’ll be testing this value proposition together…
This means setting up a price – now, before we have a clear understanding of retail vs. wholesale demand – that is fair for those doing the sewing, while still ensuring that we can also pay fair market rates for laundry, die cutting, transportation, fulfillment, organizing, marketing, kitting, and supporting new-to-production makers with some extra hand-holding. Oh, and paying our employee a livable wage, to boot.
Sewists working on the BOGO program will be provided with kit materials (pre-washed, pre-cut) and paid $3 per finished mask, regardless of whether the mask is sold at Buy One, Give One ($18/2 masks), standard retail ($12/mask), or wholesale ($6.25/mask).
Consistent payouts, no matter the sales channel, allow us to average things out over time and channels and absorb some of the risk of getting into some new markets as they open up during the pandemic.
This is a piecework (i.e. contract, not employment) arrangement where people will work from the safety of their own homes at their own paces and using their own machines. Mask parts may be sent by mail, and finished masks may be returned by mail. Any/all laundering will be handled centrally. For now, the pattern may very well involve folding bias tape on the fly while sewing… we’ve tested it. It’s doable. And, we’re continuing to improve our patterns and sourcing strategies for 100% reuse production.
This model will appeal to some people. It will not appeal to others. If it does not appeal to you, we completely understand!
Our product is not only American made, but locally sourced using 100% post-consumer materials.
While most Americans have become conditioned to expect price points reflective of third world labor at mass-produced scale, we will not attempt to compete on price, as it’s a futile race to the bottom and one that Junket has been battling for more than a decade.
If we want good jobs and thriving small businesses in our community, the solution is easy: we support organizations that are brave enough to advocate for and stand up for fair trade pricing right here in the USA.
Quality and integrity are worth more than what you’d pay for stuff made by bottom-feeding capitalists, and we’ll fight for prices that make it possible for you to make ends meet – and that also make it possible for us to run an ethical business where we pay our team market rate. Thank you for trusting us to do right by all involved.
If this opportunity sounds like it could be a good next step during interesting times, we’d love to hear from you! You can complete this form to initiate the conversation: