CIT’s Financial Support Helps Designers Create Protective Masks

Financial support by CIT Group  assists two California apparel makers create masks that help protect against COVID-19 transmission.

Sanctuary Clothing and Karen Kane, both Los Angeles-based clients of CIT’s Commercial Services business, have rolled out face masks that can be worn by consumers to provide another layer of protection against COVID-19 transmission when out in public. Both clothing companies are using proceeds from sales of fashion masks to help finance donations of masks to hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

“Supporting our clients is central to how we do business,” said Darrin Beer, western regional manager for CIT’s Commercial Services business. “We’re thrilled to provide financing that helps Sanctuary Clothing and Karen Kane bring protective masks to the medical community and the public, while also keeping their businesses moving forward.”

As the virus threat grew, Ken and Debra Polanco of Sanctuary Clothing saw opportunities to leverage their supply chain to both import medical-quality masks and also develop stylish versions for everyday wear.Backed by CIT financial support, they took an order from the California Department of Public Health for 500,000 surgical masks. At the same time, Sanctuary’s Debra Polanco began creating the “Essential Lifestyle Masks” line for consumers. “We’ve been a loyal CIT customer since 1987,” Ken Polanco said. “It takes all of us using our expertise to make something like this happen and CIT’s factoring expertise is a big part of that.”

At Karen Kane, the company’s leadership saw potential as mask-wearing proliferated in medical settings and on city streets. They quickly identified sources of fabric and then began crafting masks for their own employees and for contributions to local hospitals. Proceeds from mask sales to the public support mask donations to the medical community, with CIT financing helping to make it feasible.

“We feel privileged to be able to do something to help people stay healthy at this critical point in the COVID-19 crisis,” said Lonnie Kane, who co-founded the business with his wife Karen. “The financing we get from CIT is vital to making it all possible.”

“Agility is critical when business conditions shift rapidly, as they are now,” Beer said. “We’re focused on helping our clients successfully adapt to the economic changes in the short term and look forward to helping them flourish when the current crisis recedes.”


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