In 2015, daughter and father duo Maddy and David Scarf founded TECMASK – a Sydney-based business that produces high-grade, high-fashion face masks.
The idea for TECMASK (which stands for Total-Environment Care MASK) came when Maddy and her father visited Japan in 2012 and saw masses of people donning sterile hygiene masks.
“Upon arrival we were surrounded by people wearing face masks. What we couldn’t understand was – being in one of the fashion capitals of the world where fashion seen out of Tokyo is generally quirky and contemporary – why face masks were still stark blue or white looking,” said Maddy, co-founder of TECMASK.
“We could acknowledge and understand the needs and benefits behind wearing a face mask. But imagine how much more open the world would be to take control of their health through the use of masks if we were able to remove the ‘hospital-like’ stigma from the product and make it more fun and stylish to wear?”
After launching their product in Japan, and becoming one of the top selling masks in the country, they took a leap of faith and brought TECMASK to Australian shores. However, their idea was ridiculed and rejected at first due to the taboo associated with wearing face masks in western countries.
“It took quite a lot of education to be able to communicate the benefits behind our products, which overtime slowly translated into steady sales growth,” she said. This ‘steady growth’ has moved to huge growth in the wake of coronavirus, and they’ve dealt with the supply-and-demand effectively in order to enable that growth.
At first, Maddy and David’s mission was clear: “to produce a product for those who not only cannot afford to get sick, but something that makes them feel better about protecting their health with a range of fashionable designs, whilst incorporating a high-quality filtration.”
Recent events, including the coronavirus outbreak as well as the Australian bushfires, have created an unprecedented demand for health and hygiene products, which have been wiped from store shelves in Australia and around the world.
Many companies have already adapted to the changes in consumer behaviour since the outbreak. TECMASK is no exception – the colourful masks, which are fitted with a PM2.5 filter, can now be found on the shelves of more than 300 stores across Australia and New Zealand. TECMASK has an average of 4 thousand sales per day.
The company has sold more than 650,000 masks and is expected to exceed 1 million sales in the coming weeks. In January alone, the company experienced an incredible revenue growth of 8000%.
Despite sales skyrocketing, Maddy said she felt it necessary to limit the number of units sold to “keep things fair across the board,” and to meet the demands of longstanding retailers who have supported, and stocked, her product since day one.
“We are not only going to be investing in further production but will continue to highlight the hygienic benefits proven to be effective and aimed at all ages. We will continue to conduct regular research and development on new and effective ways to make hygiene paramount,” she said.
Although the effectiveness of face masks against viruses is still debated in the medical community, Maddy believes her product has helped educate people about being more mindful of basic hygiene methods and practices.