Featured pics prior to March 2020 shared with Snowed-In on Instagram! follow us @evlsnowedin and tag photos #evlsnowedin

Share |

Threading the Needle

Cover your face. Protect those around you. Look good doing it. Daff’s Laura Solly and Twisted Threads’ Tracey Wappman have joined forces to provide chic, effective face coverings. 
Laura Solly, owner of Daff, showcases face coverings created by Twisted Threads.

It’s impossible to escape the gloom. 

Scroll through Twitter and see images of crippled hospitals, teeming with patients and barely able to control the tide. Turn on the news and see graphics of rising death tolls, each day higher than the next. Walk the streets of an eerily quiet Ellicottville, only to see people strolling about in masks. Unfortunately, this is our current reality. This is our new normal. 

But there is always a silver lining. Those crippled hospitals and rising death tolls? Every day, doctors and nurses who have worked so tirelessly discharge patients who fought COVID-19 and won. And while Ellicottville may be quiet on its surface, businesses and restaurants continue to carry on with curbside pickup. 

Known for its superb curation of products, Ellicottville’s Daff Dry Goods has found a new niche in the midst of the societal shutdown. 

“The second week of the shutdown, I was going hiking and threw on one of these facemask/bando-type things from one of our brands,” said owner Laura Solly. “I sell them regularly. I posted a photo and came back to my phone, which had blown up with people asking if they could get some. I went into the store and before I knew it had sold through about 50. The demand was crazy.” 

While the government hadn’t yet issued its recommendation for the public to begin wearing facemasks for all manners of travel or shopping, many people began to see the writing on the wall. As did Solly. That Monday, she called the brand in an effort to replenish her inventory — only to be told that it’d be backordered. She’s still waiting for them. 

“I didn’t get discouraged,” she said. “I have a friend who makes headbands at home as a side gig — I called her and asked if she could start pumping some out. Since that phone call, we’ve sold over 200.” 

Tracey Wappman is an IT engineer at National Air Cargo. A few years ago, she began making a different style of headband for her daughter, a frequent victim of migraines. The side hustle — aptly named Twisted Threads — keeps her busy doing something she loves when she’s not working or being a mom. 

“Laura called me right as the shutdown was starting to take effect,” Wappman said. “We’ve been friends but have never had a business relationship. So when she asked me if I could tweak my headband design — make it a little wider so it fits over a nose/mouth — I said yes, not knowing the impact it would eventually have. I’ve been slammed since then.” 

The waitlist exceeds 50 people as Solly and Wappman try and keep up with the growing demand. Typically sourcing her material from places like Joanne Fabric or Hobby Lobby, Wappman has had to quickly shift gears since material has become increasingly difficult to come by. 

“In keeping with supporting other local businesses, I’ve started sourcing my material from Nature’s Fabrics in Erie, PA,” Wappman said. “It’s a husband and wife outfit. I love that I’ve been able to support them as Laura is supporting me.” 

It takes us back to the silver lining. As awful as this entire situation has been, we’ve seen the very best of humanity come out. The Ellicottville community has answered the call, whether it’s the distilleries making hand sanitizer or frozen meals being donated by the thousands to those in need. While Solly has had to close Daff to the public, it doesn’t mean she’s had to completely give up. 

“We’re getting creative,” Solly said. “And it’s working. It’s resonating with people. We’re making the best out of the situation.” 

Wappman stressed that these face coverings are not cleared for medical purposes but do the trick to cover your nose and mouth. To order a piece or to be put on the waitlist, call or text Laura Solly at 716-353-0951. You can follow Daff (@daffevl) and Twisted Threads (@twistedthreadsbuffalo) on Instagram.