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Local Tailor Adapts to Serve Families During Unprecedented Pandemic

Like other small business owners, Patti Angus is trying to come up with an effective action plan for her tailoring business. 

“Being in the service industry, it is day to day,” says Angus, the mother of two boys, ages nine and thirteen, and the owner of Patti P. Tailors in Glen Allen. “I have rent to pay and with the reality of the stay-at-home order being longer than thirty days, I have to figure something out now.”

Because of the pandemic, half of the small businesses across the country can’t afford to pay employees for a full month under the current economic lockdown, according to new surveys recently released by the Society for Human Resource Management. 

Additionally, most businesses expect to see a decrease in revenue, while businesses in certain sectors like the service industry can expect even greater losses. Over half of small businesses expect revenue losses of 10 to 30 percent, while one in five expect to lose more than 30 percent of revenue. Four percent of business owners expect a total loss of revenue and the closure of their business.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with my business,” Angus says. “I know it’s going to change, and I know it will take a while to recover from it. People are going to be afraid to interact, shake hands, or do anything like that. I feel for all small businesses.”

When the stay-at-home order was put into action, Angus thought about offering some type of online service for alterations, but she knew it would be difficult to do online tailoring. 

“Other than a hem, you have to be fitted for your clothes and that’s what makes it hard,” she says. “It takes time to figure out how I could do that.”

For the moment, she has decided to make masks. “It’s my skill set, and I can do it well and help other people in the process,” she says. 

Luckily Angus had an inventory of fabric and elastic on hand. “When I went through the stock and had to order, either my vendors were out of it or it was outrageously priced,” she says, adding she is getting in extra fabric. 

 Because of her New York Fashion Week background, she has decided to make her masks fun. “I’ve read all the CDC guidelines. I know fabrics and which kinds breathe or don’t breathe. It’s easy for me to know which fabrics to use,” she says. “I found some fun fabrics – like Dr. Seuss – that make you smile and be happy.”

Patti with several models during New York Fashion Week.

Angus donates some of her masks to people in high-risk situations. She also sells her masks to her clients, as well as to the public for $10 a mask. The masks are triple-layered, so both sides of the fabrics can be used. 

“I do have clients that are allergic to latex and I do those type of masks, too,” she says. “I’m trying to accommodate what everyone needs.”

Some companies have talked to her about wholesale orders, but she doesn’t have the inventory at the moment. “I’m trying to keep up with regular mask orders now,” she says.

Her masks can be shipped to the customer or they can be picked up at Patti P. Tailors even though her shop is closed to the public.  

“I schedule a time for you to come in, and I put the mask in a Ziploc bag on a table by the door. It’s no-contact pickup and drop off,” she says. 

This time of the year is usually Angus’ busy season filled with weddings, proms and graduations. 

“I was coming out of a slow season so this closure has had a tumbling effect,” she says. “This year will definitely be a year of challenges.” 

Call Patti P. Tailors at (804) 273-0207 for more information.


The CDC recommends the use of cloth face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Go here for details.


An award-winning writer based in Richmond, Joan Tupponce is a parent, grandparent, and self-admitted Disney freak. She writes about anything and everything and enjoys meeting inspiring people and telling their stories. Joan’s work has appeared in RFM since the magazine’s first issue in October 2009. Look for original and exclusive online articles about Richmond-area people, places, and ideas at Just Joan: RVA Storyteller.

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