Starting a business amid a pandemic is not ideal, but that’s not stopping Mellie Valencia or her business “Masks By Mellie” from flourishing during these uneasy times.

Carmella Valencia wearing her sassy princess fabric. photo by Jacob Elbert

Since Valencia’s first order was placed back in March of 2020 she has continued to mask the student body and staff at Klein Cain as well as her community.

While Mellie’s business may have started back in march her love of crafting started many years before.

“I’ve always been super crafty all my life so doing this was right in character of myself. When I was 5-6 years old I taught myself how to do duct tape crafts and I would sell them, from there I went to rainbow loom crafts, took a few years off, and now I’m sewing and selling things,” Valencia said.

For most people starting a business is a scary process that involves many risks that most people aren’t willing to take, but for Mellie, her love of crafting helped her be fearless throughout the process of starting a business.

“I wasn’t really scared to start this business. Like I’ve said, I’ve always started little businesses here and there and I was pretty confident going into this one. I practiced sewing and got to a position of being comfortable enough to sell them to people at school. It took me another year to get comfortable with my mask before I made an Instagram page promoting it to more people rather than just relying on word-of-mouth sales.”

Valencia’s collection of mask fabrics Photo By Mellie Valencia

Not only does Mellie run a successful business she is also a senior here at Klein Cain. Valencia is a very active student on campus and is a member of the color guard, yearbook staff, and broadcasting team.

“So I’m a pretty busy person! Usually, my schedule consists of going to school, having band rehearsal, and then going home and doing homework. On days that I don’t have band rehearsal, I work at Chic-Fil-A! Of course, Chick-fil-a is closed on Sunday so on Sunday’s I catch up on my mask orders,” Mellie said in response to being asked how she finds time to manage her extracurriculars, work, and her business.

Even with a busy schedule, Mellie continues to create high-quality masks and excel in school and work.

“My favorite part of my mask business is discovering my love for sewing as a whole. I love creating new things that I can be proud of,” says Valencia.