Clothing designer donates hundreds of ear-saver headbands to front-line workers

Posted at 4:24 PM, Apr 30, 2020

With many day jobs on hold, some Americans are using their skills to do good.

"I got that picture from my daughter and thought, 'this is what I can do.' I don't want to sit at home around all day," said Celeste Dugre, owner of Dugre Designs. "If I can do something that's going to help somebody, I'm going to do it."

The picture Dugre received from her daughter was of a nurse who transformed a headband into a now essential component of her personal protective equipment (PPE). She sewed two buttons onto a headband so that her mask could attach to the buttons, rather than her ears.

"There's pictures going around with mask bruising, but also where the elastic goes around the ears, it breaks down the skin on their ears," said Dugre.

The activewear designer realized this was a way she could help front-line workers get through long shifts.

She posted one of her ear-saver headband creations on social media, and the orders soon poured in, first from friends.

"I made her one, for her niece, and her niece loved it and told people about it. And then she ordered 50!" said Dugre.

She donated hundreds to hospitals in her hometown of San Diego, including UC San Diego Health.

"Wearing it, really, most of the day is the challenging part. The gowns, the masks, the bouffant, the glasses, it can take a toll after 12 hours," said Teresa Joseph, an EMT in the UCSD Emergency Department in La Jolla.

Joseph was one of Dugre's first customers, desperate for relief after working multiple 12-hour shifts in a row.

"When you're working back to back shifts, your ears really aren't able to recoup enough," said Joseph.

It's a newer problem for many health care workers now forced to wear protective equipment for long hours.

"It's one less thing they have to worry about, they're just doing their jobs," said Dugre.

Now, she's saving ears across the country, receiving orders from multiple states.

Dugre is selling the items on Etsy for $5 now, to cover the cost of making them.

She's also selling masks as a way to supplement her lost income during the pandemic.

"I'm just grateful they're actually working and helping," said Dugre.

You can purchase EarSaver Headbands and face masks from Dugre Designs here .