A custom fit for Block Island

Fri, 05/22/2020 - 10:15am

Many American businesses have had to pivot and change their focus during the pandemic, but few have done so more nimbly than A Custom Style, the Connecticut-based clothing manufacturer that is now selling high-end facemasks.

Siblings Sarah and Bill Powers are the co-owners and co-founders of the company, which started up just last December. The company was making a name for itself when the shutdown hit, but they didn’t lose any steam. One of the manufacturers they had a relationship was also in the facemask business.

“These are three-layered surgical-style masks,” said Sarah Powers. “The manufacturer is very well established. I knew they were reliable. They are someone I could trust. It’s a great product, the fabric is substantial, and there is the metal piece to pinch around your nose.”

Bill Powers said “a lot of facemasks don’t come with the metal piece that bends around the nose, which makes them useless, and ear straps that pull out. We make sure we have a quality controlled product.”

The Powers are no strangers to Block Island. Their family started coming to the island in 1988, the year Bill was born. “I’ve been out there since the beginning of my days,” Bill joked. While the family was in the real estate business, Bill and Sarah forged their own paths. By day, Bill is a yacht broker at 26 North Yachts in Florida, and Sarah went into the fashion business.

A Custom Style is focusing on the quality of the masks and the reliability of their distribution system. Both Sarah and Bill said they are aware of stories about cities, towns and businesses buying masks and being frustrated with the low-quality product that was eventually delivered. Sarah Powers said that their hometown “paid thousands of dollars for masks, which wasn’t in the town budget, and they came in and were like cheesecloth. You could see through them, and they were out thousands of dollars,” said Sarah Powers. “That was one of the reasons why we wanted to reach out to Block Island. It’s an incredibly short season and to see anyone on Block Island try to get masks and find them unusable would break our hearts.”

They both said they have the inventory for large orders.

“We haven’t had any hiccups in delivery time,” said Bill. “We’ve made the financial investment to purchase inventory. If somebody says, ‘We need one thousand, we’ve got them in stock and we can drive them right over. We can get things to Block Island and we can get them there very, very quickly. You don’t have to wait 10 days, 20 days to get them.”

Bill Powers said the approach to making their masks is personal and direct.

They can also customize payment plans for island customers.

“We can work on pricing for the island. We know this is a devastating time and we’re here to work things out,” said Bill. “People call us and we can work with them directly; we can work that out over the phone.”

“Don’t get discouraged and not call,” said Sarah.

For ordering and more information, contact Sarah Powers at (203) 721-4260. The website is acustomstyle.com.