Meet America’s High Fashion Face Mask Designer - Ella Pritsker
Ella Pritsker Couture is one of the Mid-Atlantic Region’s most celebrated custom de-sign houses.
Don’t let the elegant gowns and executive couture fool you, Ella’s no stranger to hard work. At the age of 21 when in Austria and Italy and waiting to emigrate to the US, fate lined up three European "Old World" dressmakers who introduced her to the glamorous high fashion world. Each taught her a piece of the hand-stitched fine art of specially made couture. She finally arrived in the United States from Russia as a refugee and quickly found herself a single mom facing hardship and homelessness. She was struggling to survive, taking jobs where she could and found success altering clothing and housekeeping. She even cared for a quadriplegic man for 3 years.
Her hard work and experience paid off. Altering clothing and dresses for clients - quickly her name spread and she found herself in-demand.
Ella started her own business and found great success. She even teaches people how to sew. Usually employs about 4-8 people, making custom dresses and other exclusive couture. She’s very dedicated to her work and believes that bringing manufacturing back into the US is how we can bring prosperity back to our communities.
In 1960 about 90% of all clothing and garments were made in the United States, with a large majority in Baltimore and New York. but now that number is practically 0.
All of Ella’s items are manufactured in Timonium and sewn on machines maintained by one of our previous spotlights, David Tharp. That’s how I’ve come to meet Ella. I heard what she was doing and insisted David provide an introduction so I could write a story.
Facing COVID with Style
In February 2020 Ella was approached by a doctor in Timonium asking for her help - they needed a reusable, and washable facemask that would fit in a hospital environment. Immediately rising to the challenge she developed a facemask that met the criteria of the doctors, and she began mass producing them. She rounded up all her sewers and emailed all her clients.
“Think globally, act locally,” she said.
They got work done. Ella and her extremely talented sewers were pumping masks out lightning speed donating to hospitals, healthcare workers, meals on wheels. And after fulfilling the needs of the doctors in her area. With rising operational costs Ella sought to find a way to pivot her business in the COVID world - and she and a friend came up with the idea of Elegant and sophisticated facemasks; something that you wouldn’t mind wearing should you need to dress up.
Her gamble paid off, her clients helped spread the word around the fashion industry that Ella’s masks were runway ready. Businesses like Nemacolin Woodland Re-sort - placed an order so they could provide their guests with an elegant solution while at their resort. Other 5-star clubs and chains order her masks. Some with logos for their staff to wear.
She’s very excited and is launching their brand “Face It with Style”
The landscape of small businesses is changing in America. The world post-COVID may be a very different one and it will surely be dominated by business owners who can find opportunities even in the most difficult times.
“Looking back it was so rewarding”
the end of Ella’s COVID story is just another chapter in her wondrous story.
Originally Published in Susquehanna Signal