Maskey was born in April 2020 and within days of launching the first Maskey vending machine in my home town of Chigwell, Essex I have been faced with the same question - Why Maskey?
With 'Why Maskey?' being the dominating topic of conversation for me at the moment I wanted to share the story so far with everyone who visits the Maskey.uk site and continue to document the Maskey journey for anyone who is interested.
Where it began ...
I came up with the concept of Maskey (three weeks ago at the time of writing this).
The idea came to me whilst speaking to my neighbour and friend Russell who owns a suit manufacturing company. His business was struggling due to the pandemic and I just asked him if he would be able to manufacture fashionable face masks, to which he replied "Yes, of course".
The following day, Russ showed me half a dozen face masks, made from double layered cotton which were pleated and fitted really well. As soon as I held the face masks, I knew at that moment that I was onto something special.
There were a few flaws in the initial design and after a dozen or so 'back to the drawing board' moments - Russ had manufactured what we believed to be the best and most comfortable fashionable face mask.
I started to get the website built out and brand designed (alongisde a million and one other things). Looking at the competition, any masks I found were selling for north of £20, were of very poor quality, being shipped from outside the UK and keeping customers waiting for weeks (as stated on their websites).
Already being a germ-o-phobic (if such word exists), even masks that I bought from other websites, I just could not bring myself to wear as there was no way of knowing what country it has been in, where it has travel to and from and who has touched it.
This inspired me to create Maskey, with 3 key aims in mind;
1. To produce safe and clean masks that are handled with care
A Maskey will be made in an enviroment that we can protect as much as possible. The mask will be made by a machinist wearing a face mask and gloves and within seconds of being completed, steamed at over 90 degrees and then instantly placed into a sealed plastic wallet. No one will enter the factory without a face mask and gloves and the entrance will be constantly protected by a double entry / exit system.
2. To make Maskey as accessable as possible
Wanting to ensure that Maskey's were made available to everyone and be as easy to access as possible led to the idea of vending machines. I brought my friend Mike into the project and his task was to find the best vending machine to suit the purpose of selling face masks. No such machine exists so we spent days researching the machines and speaking to people all over the world to come up with a number of solutions.
We found the solution and already have our first Vendamask in operation in Chigwell, Essex which went live the day before the goverment announced the recomendation of face covering with cloth on 11 May 2020 - the Vendamask has sold out every day since. There are a further 31 locations planned (at the time of writing) over the next 3 weeks with some very exciting projects lined up following our official launch.
Whilst we are aiming to have over 100 Maskey machines accross the UK by the summer, we are in the process of building a 2nd mini factory, which will be completed shortly and will allow us to continue to fulfil all internet orders within three working days.
3. To allow any business to brand their own Maskey for their employees
I would like to think that a point will be coming soon where people will start returning back to work and businesses opening their doors once again. Maskey will offer both people and corporate companies the ability to personalise face masks individually or in bulk. We have 10 pin emroidery machinary and anything imaginable, can be created as a Maskey.
I am going to aim to share the journey of Maskey through Instagram @maskey.uk so feel free to follow us and I would appreciate any feedback to help create the UK's ultimate fashionable face mask.