With face masks now a fact of life, Travellers Choice member Fiona Oliver is drawing on some old skills to open up a potential new revenue stream.
Before becoming a travel consultant, Oliver, owner of Victorian agency Travel & Cruise Castlemaine, owned a sports store and regularly produced trophies and branded merchandise for local teams. Now, with her agency essentially in a COVID-induced holding pattern, she's decided the time is right to dust off the equipment and start producing branded face masks for local businesses and travel companies.
"When all this started, like many other agents I thought about diversifying and I considered a number of new product lines," says Oliver. "Ultimately I thought it might be best to stick with what I know, and that's sublimation, which is a printing technique that allows you to print directly on to specialised material.
"So I upgraded my old printing equipment, ordered some masks and began using our specialised software to create designs featuring business logos. So far we've produced face masks that are branded with Travel & Cruise Castlemaine and Travellers Choice, and I'm now approaching local businesses to see if they are interested."
Oliver says she will also promote the masks - which incorporate charcoal filters and are totally washable - to travel companies.
"Even when international borders open up again, I think face masks are going to be an essential item for travellers, and we'll certainly be offering them to our clients, along with hand sanitiser and other products, as part of a wellness pack.
"I've no doubt there will be plenty of other travel agents, tour operators and other suppliers who will also want to promote their companies with branded face masks, and we are happy to provide them. If you are interested just get in touch and keep in mind there are no minimum orders – if you want to try one or two, that is fine."
Along with face masks, Oliver says she can produce branded luggage tags, key rings, wine carriers and stubby holders.