How Pharmaca Kept the Doors Open During the Pandemic with the Help of Co-Branded Reusable Face Masks from ChicoBag

June 16, 2021 3 min read

How Pharmaca Kept the Doors Open During the Pandemic with the Help of Co-Branded Reusable Face Masks from ChicoBag


Down the narrow cobblestone back streets, and just around the corner, a candle flickers in the window of a small shop. Bottles and tinctures can be seen through the door, which tinkles with the sound of a small bell as you step inside. The scents of lavender, citrus, rosemary, and rosehip hang gently in the air. Your local apothecary is waiting behind the counter, at the ready with ancient wisdom bottled in green glass jars.

Such was the inspiration for Pharmaca, a natural health and beauty retailer inspired by the traditional European apothecaries of both old and present. Since opening its doors in Boulder, Colorado in 2000, Pharmaca has been a force for change in the world of natural health and beauty, empowering customers to think outside the pill bottle in managing their health. For the last 20 years, they’ve been offering products based on cutting-edge research and centuries of ancient wisdom.


When the pandemic hit in 2020, Pharmaca knew it could offer important physical and mental health resources. “We were committed to remaining open throughout for our customers,” said Dave Janowicz, Pharmaca Vice President Merchandising and Retail Operations.

To stay open, however, they faced three big challenges:

  1. Keeping their staff and customers safe
  2. Having enough inventory
  3. Staying true to their values of sustainability and environmental protection


Faced with these challenges, Pharmaca knew it needed a supplier with similar values and environmentally friendly products. “The world is our community,” observed Janowicz. “We are devoted to our neighborhood and our planet, and we are continually looking for new offerings that promote sustainability in packaging, ingredients, assembly, waste, and transportation.”

They had begun working with ChicoBag, a reusable bags and cutlery purveyor, back in 2016, when stocking their shelves and e-commerce stores. When ChicoBag announced co-branded reusable face masks in early 2020, Pharmaca knew they’d found a one-stop solution to all three of their challenges.

Safe staff and customers:

Pharmaca ordered both standard and co-branded reusable face masks to give out to their staff and for shoppers. Knowing the masks were breathable and surpassed European safety standards, Pharmaca felt confident the facewear would help protect their employees and customers.

“I wear a different patterned Chico mask every day,” said Janowicz, “and my favorite is the Pharmaca branded one.”

Enough inventory:

With the world in chaos, toilet paper shortages, and general mass demand for at-home supplies, shipping delays were common and supply chains were struggling. ChicoBag rose to the occasion and provided speedy delivery of facewear and other inventory.

“Helping protect our team members and customers was of great importance to us. ChicoBag really helped in that regard by providing us a consistent supply of products especially when the supply chain was so challenging.”


By continuing their partnership with ChicoBag and bringing on the new facewear for staff and customers, Pharmaca was able to keep the lights on and doors open when much of the world was forced to shutter.

“The ChicoBag products hit the mark on all accounts,” observed Janowicz. “They help protect the teams and customers during these challenging times, provide a great sustainability story, provide a great value proposition, and were very quick to work with us on our custom Pharmaca masks.”

In 12 months, Pharmaca moved over 10,000 reusable ChicoBag face masks to help staff and customers with protection from the virus. Since one ChicoBag replaces at least 547 single-use masks, Pharmaca prevented 5,470,000 disposable face masks from clogging landfills and waterways--in just one year!

And the best part? Everybody loved the co-branded reusable face masks.

“When we handed out the Pharmaca custom masks to team members, many commented that it was the best mask that they have used. It was also fun to see many customers purchasing the custom Pharmaca masks😊.”