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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Craftsy entrepreneurs are doing brisk business in the new cottage industry of selling artisanal face masks.

What's happening: Online stores are selling out of face masks within minutes of listing new stock — in some cases, after being featured in an article from the likes of GQ, Vogue or the lifestyle blog Man Repeller.

  • Etsy, long seen as a purveyor of artisan-made goods, reported in a recent earnings call that in April the platform saw $133 million in sales of fabric face masks.

What they're saying:

Adrienne Antonson, founder of STATE the Label in Athens, Ga., says that from the moment her small-batch, hand-painted clothing company started offering masks, it could barely keep up with demand. The company is selling and donating masks, and published a pattern for others to use.

  • "We sold out of 25 masks within minutes." says Antonson. "We said, 'Let’s restock.' By the end of the day, we had sold 200 masks within 14 minutes."
  • To date, STATE has donated 800 masks and sold just over 200.

Naomi Mishkin, the Brooklyn-based designer behind made-to-order clothing line Naomi Nomi, had a similar experience. (Her company is donating a mask for every one sold.)

  • At first — specifically, on Friday, April 3, at 5:50 p.m. — her company had about 500 requests to be on a waitlist for masks.
  • Ten minutes later, the New York Times blasted out an alert saying the CDC had officially recommended wearing face masks. Minutes later — at 6:05 p.m. — "GQ dropped an article saying 'here are 5 brands that are selling them,'" Mishkin recalls.
  • "We were #3. By the end of the weekend, we had requests for 10,000 masks."

Designers largely aren't profiting on mask sales — but they're keeping their businesses alive and their employees on payroll, and in some cases expanding their customer base.

  • Some are also raising serious money for charity. An example: Detroit-based clothing brand DIOP raised $28,500 (as of Friday evening) for Feed the Frontlines Detroit, which supports local restaurants and serves meals to emergency and health care workers.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
5 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.