Face masks used to be cheap and not very common to use for the general public. You could barely find them in your local pharmacy in many places of the world. Asia was the notable exception, probably driven by repeated outbreaks of respiratory epidemics and air pollution. In some Asian countries face masks were part of pop culture and considered fashion items long before Covid-19.
Since the 2019 outbreak of the global Covid-19 pandemic, face masks became hard to find in early 2020. The sudden steep surge in demand exhausted stocks of masks and filter materials as well as production capacities globally. Consequently, mask and material prices rose exponentially.
Excessive prices and acute shortage of face masks are among the reasons why MiMask was born in early 2020. We wanted to participate in a quick normalization of the situation, by selling cheap masks directly to those who need them, cutting out speculators and middlemen.
Analysing the cost of a face mask in retail (the chart below depicts the situation in 09/2020), we also saw that a big chunk of the cost was due to speculative prices by several stakeholders in the value chain.
At MiMask, we have been committed to get mask prices down, and deliver quality face masks at an affordable price. How do we make this happen? Here’s a list of things we do:
- We buy mask materials in bulk from reliable European manufacturers, reducing transport costs and the delay between purchase and distribution
- We produce in a high care environment, that drives down defects and increases productivity and speed
- We work as a lean team and have a pretty bootstrap approach in the way we run our business
- We sell directly to consumers, avoiding all the usual markups that many people along the distribution chain take (incl. EU governments that charge VAT on masks)
- We do have to invest in marketing and technology, and employ workers in European factories at fari salaries with all the workplace security measures that this requires.
As a result we manage to sell our masks at a significantly cheaper price than anybody else in Europe, without ever compromising on quality.