Who’s the woman behind the mask?

My name is Mary. Curious Collections Vinyl Records and More is a little record store in Bryan, Texas that was a vision I had and carried out. The store started off as a collectible and antique store and over the last few years has evolved into a genuine record store. In 2016, while going through my divorce, I started my store with about 8-10,000 of my dad's records and collectibles, after he suddenly died in a car accident. 

On March 17, 2020 I had to lock the doors to my store.  You see, I’m considered moderate risk for complications due to COVID-19. In October 2018, I was diagnosed with stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma (Breast Cancer). For the next 8+ months following, I was put through very aggressive cancer treatments, including 2 surgeries, intense chemotherapy and radiation along with many weeks of physical therapy. Not only myself, but my store suffered greatly during this time and is still recovering from my time away. I am happy to report I am in remission and am doing well. I have one more surgery and am in continual hormone therapy with the hope of staying in remission for a long time. 

Those of you who know me, know that I was pretty much born to hustle.. since the inception of Curious Collections (except of course while I was undergoing my cancer treatments), I have supplemented my income with several side hustles, mostly driving late nights for Uber and renting my home on AirBNB. Both of which I can no longer do.

Realizing that nearly 95% of all my sales come from walk-in customers, I knew that even 2 weeks of only slowly trickling internet orders would not be enough to keep my lights on. 

This is where the masks come in. 

Some of you may or may not know that in my past life, I was a self taught seamstress. My mother and grandmother are and were both very talented seamstresses as well. After my recent history of cancer and already very familiar with social distancing, because of my weakened immune system, I set out to quickly design and stitch a face mask that would be functional, comfortable and stylish. Realizing that record sales would slow to a halt with the falling economy, I knew I needed to find more work, a single mom could do at home (with my kids) that would generate some income. Thus, the birth of the Curious Collections cloth face mask*

When my life feels like it's spiraling out of control,  I occupy my mind and focus on something I can control and find ways to help people. I saw a need and jumped at the opportunity to use my talents & resources to help. 

Even after surviving cancer, last year, I am truly terrified of what the next 6 months will bring. The possibility of becoming ill and the  uncertainty and fearfulness of losing my store and everything I’ve worked so hard for is crippling. 

When you think about things you need, please consider shopping from small businesses in your community and supporting your local economy, especially now.

*These face masks are currently listed for sale on my website. 


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