Drawing on their decade-long legacy of philanthropy, mother-daughter duo Jill Zarin and Allyson Shapiro created a range of insanely comfy face masks that has been so successful it has spawned a full-fledged brand, Shop Jill & Ally.
“We didn’t come out with masks to start a fashion brand,” says Ally. “We made the masks and then became a fashion brand.”
After Ally learned the craft of tie-dying in April 2020, she took a crack at a handful of plain white cotton masks. Posting a few pics to her Instagram, Ally was flooded with DM requests for the cheerful, girly, hand-dyed numbers. Once again, she and her mother seized the opportunity to give back, and immediately instituted a “buy one / give one” policy.
Flashforward to Fall 2020. With the world now flooded with masks, how does the Masks by Jill & Ally brand stand out? Here are few key ways:
- This is a “give-back” brand. Aligned with Jill and Ally’s longstanding personal commitment to philanthropy, more than 25,000 masks have been donated to healthcare workers since May 2020.
- Its gorgeous tie-dyes are unlike anything else in the mask market, and the color palette is unparalleled. From day one, the brand’s unique technique - hand-dyed with love by Jill, Ally and their team in Jill’s own Florida home - has given it a real point of difference in the market. And the extensive color palette, informed by Jill’s vast experience in apparel and textiles, also sets Masks by Jill & Ally apart.
- The fabrications are next-level sumptuous. Described as a “hug to the face,” the ultra-soft, washable 3-ply cotton used to craft the masks delivers maximum comfort, even after hours of continuous wear.
- There’s an option for everyone. Along with the wildly popular tie-dye Fashion Face Masks, the brand also offers 3-Ply and Adjustable Fashion Face Masks, Clear Adjustable Masks and Personalization. (Monogram, anyone?) On the palette front, there’s a rainbow of tie dye and solid shades to choose from, reflecting the seasons.
- Masks by Jill & Ally is actually not just masks. Now sold in 5,000 retail outlets, as well as on Amazon and jillandally.com, the brand is expanding by the day. In addition to the masks, there’s a full range of Mask Jewelry that can pull double duty as either a lanyard or a chic necklace on its own. Next up: comfy, cozy tie-dyed hoodies and sweatpants.
Although their crystal ball never told them they’d be running a fashion brand together, Jill and Ally are thrilled to use their dual strengths for the greater good. Owned and staffed completely by women, the company plays to both Jill’s and Ally’s strengths.
Jill, Founder of Masks by Jill & Ally, has an extensive fashion background, and draws on her former experience as the President of Gold Toe, a $150 million sock brand, to manage Jill & Ally production and logistics. Ally, who has a Master’s in Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s in London, serves as Co-Founder and Creative Director and oversees the marketing, social media and influencer alliances. “Every day is an adventure,” says Jill.