THE UN-MASKING OF BEATRICE MATIASH
From starting out making beads as a young teen, to establishing her own successful jewelry and apparel company, to now making face masks to help out in this time of pandemic crisis, the remarkable journey of Beatrice Matiash has been both innovative and colorful.
By Cynthia Unninayar
“I have always loved color and jewelry,” says Beatrice Matiash, founder of Tashka by Beatrice. “As a young teen, I made beads which I sold to a bead store in Soho, New York City. In high school, I created a ‘bead company,’ which won the competition for an economics class project.”
After receiving a B.A. in Fashion Buying and Merchandising from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and working for prestigious apparel and accessories companies, her daughter was born. “I wanted to spend more time at home, yet be active in jewelry, so I created my own company in 2000.”
As her creative instincts blossomed, so did the success and breadth of her brand. Over the last two decades, she has launched clothing, bags and umbrellas as well as a range of new jewelry collections.
As the Covid-19 pandemic progressed around the world and the need to wear face coverings became increasingly apparent, Beatrice decided to introduce a line of masks representing gemstones. They were so popular that in the first few weeks, she sold thousands. “They sell out as soon as we introduce them on social media,” she says. The designs range from bright colorful rainbows, soft pastels and neutral diamonds, to stylized gem-printed lips and hearts. “Masks are the new must-have accessory and will continue to be for some time.”
“The rainbow hues are my favorite colors. They represent the visual calm after the storm, the pot of positivity that we all need today. Color in general makes people feel good; it can lift their spirits. Since it is recommended, or in some places required, to wear masks, why not make them colorful, happy and fun during these difficult times?” Her customers clearly agree since more than 60% of mask sales (as well as of jewelry and apparel lines) are in the brightest colors.
The unisex masks come in a dozen or more styles and in three different sizes, two for children and one for adults. The outer portion is made of breathable soft polyester since that material can better reproduce the vibrant designs that make the masks so distinctive. On the inside, next to the face, is a soft cotton layer. Beatrice also sells a PM2.5 filter that can be inserted between the two layers to increase effectiveness, helping to protect the mouth and face from viruses, dust, haze, bacteria, pollen and more.
“The masks are washable and very comfortable,” she says, quickly pointing out that “they are for regular use. They are not medical grade for staff in hospitals or for individuals with compromised immune systems.” Yet, to add a bit of whimsy to their otherwise hectic and often trying schedules, medical staff are among her clients, and wear these fashion masks on top of their N95s.
Helping out with masks is only part of Beatrice’s story of giving. “This pandemic has caused untold suffering for many, so we give a portion of our mask sales to five organizations that help combat the effects of Covid-19: No Kid Hungry, Feeding America, Direct Relief, Team Rubicon Disaster Response & International Medical Corps.
Being fashionably masked never did so much good. (tashkabybeatrice.com)