Artifact is a Nebraska-based brand, usually specializing in bags, aprons, and other accessories, but when the current health crisis began to accelerate—and business dropped off steeply—they decided to go in another direction entirely. Artifact founder Chris Hughes pivoted in a big way, offering handcrafted, reusable masks. The brand is currently on track to produce 500 each day, turning around a sales slump and potentially helping U.S. hospitals struggling to source disposable masks breathe easier. The Hi Omaha blog recently interviewed him about this savvy business decision—read it here.
The Berrics’ co-founder Steve Berra grew up skating with Hughes in Omaha, and here’s what he has to say:
“Although I am from St. Louis originally, I spent many of my formative years in Omaha, Nebraska. One of my friends (Chris Hughes) that I grew up skateboarding with started a company called @artifactbags about 10 years ago. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s okay, it wasn’t conceived as a skate brand but, nonetheless, it is a brand owned by a skateboarder. Artifact makes timeless, well-made bags, aprons and accessories. However, in this time, right now, when people need it most, Chris decided to throw all of his time, resources and energy into pivoting towards manufacturing much needed masks for medical staff who no longer have access to the N95 surgical masks, food processors, public service workers and individuals with jobs requiring contact with others, the ledger and people who are high risk like some of our employees at the Berrics. He did this all in 72 hours. They are made in America but are shipped all over the world. All I can say is that I’m extremely proud of my friend Chris, he saw the world needed, put his company on the line, and helped them. There are thousands of skaters out there doing great things. Professional skateboarding or owning a skateboard related brand isn’t the only way skaters are helping change the world. Chris and @artifactbags are but just one example. I don’t care if you’re a plumber, electrician, sanitation worker, lawyer, doctor, nurse or physical therapist. If your’e a skater and you care about people and do your job the best it can be done and treat others with dignity, you deserve just as much love and respect on here as any of the incredible professional skateboarders we regularly post. If you haven’t heard it lately, I’ll say it now. Thank you.” – sb