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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.

Update June 2020 - Since launching Maskey just 6 weeks ago, Maskey and our Vendamask machines have recently been featured on BBC Radio, BBC Birmingham, The Vanessa Feltz Show, ITV News, BBC News, TV Tokyo, The Sun, Huffington Post, Time Out, The Daily Mail, Washington Times, Evening Standard, The Metro, Planet Vedning and a number of other high profile magazines and newspapers. Search Google News for 'Maskey' or 'Vendamask' to see full coverage.

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 (alongside 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 2 key aims in mind;

1. To produce safe and clean masks that are handled with care

A Maskey will be made in an environment 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 accessible 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 government announced the recommendation of face covering with cloth on 11 May 2020 - the Vendamask has sold out every day since. There are a further 100 locations planned, at the time of writing this and we will shortly be in Scotland.

There are currently 20+ locations including Hamleys, Carnaby, West End, Essex, Surrey, Slough all the way up to Norwich - the full list can be found here; https://maskey.uk/pages/vendamask

Whilst we are aiming to have over 100 Maskey machines across the UK by the summer, we are in the process of building a 2nd factory, which will be completed shortly and will allow us to continue to fulfil all internet orders within two working days.

Follow Maskey on Instagram @maskey.uk