For the first time IREMA Facemate FFp2 Respirators are now available to the education sector in Ireland and UK exclusively through StaySafe Mask . The respirator is widely used by frontline healthcare workers in Irish hospitals, we want to support the return to school with the highest level of protection available.
Irema’s Respirator Face Mask FFP2 NR has a horizontal fold, adjustable nose piece and latex free straps for greater protection. It has been tested to fit a variety of face shapes and head dimensions to give the wearer optimal fit and seal during extended periods of use.
Meets FFP2 Classification in Accordance with EN 149:2001 + A1:2009
First off, we really appreciate the support we have received from people across Ireland and the UK over the last 5 months. We have shipped masks to thousands of customers and retail is going great. Our increased manufacturing volumes are bringing economies of scale in production which means we have just reduced all our prices online!
We are now stocked in almost 1000 stores across Ireland and the UK. Multiple independent retailers, Fresh The Good Food Market, Circle K, Select Spar stores, Select Maxol Stores, Applegreen N Ireland, 300 Waterstones stores in the UK, all Robert Dyas UK stores and many more. Our retail partners are vital to us, as a convenience product we want to be widely available to people when they need us most. Petrol stations and convenience stores have been great for our individually wrapped and 3 packs of masks. Our aim is to now list our bulk and individually wrapped 50 packs in supermarket’s across UK and Ireland.
Like any new start-up we have had some growing pains, but nothing we have not been unable to overcome. We are building a very loyal customer base and get many lovely emails from our customers. The following review was left last week on our web site and comments like this give us huge energy to keep pushing forward.
Caroline (verified owner)21 August 2020
I have bought several boxes of Stay Safe masks and they are without doubt the best.
I wear glasses and they are the only brand I’ve come across (and I’ve tried a lot) which reduces lens fogging.
The individually wrapped masks are brilliant to take in my bag when I’m out and about and I know the mask I’m putting on is completely sterile.
I will be wearing Stay Safe masks when I return to work in a school.
And I always wear one on public transport and I feel very safe because they are such a close fit.
Great to have such high-quality products made in Ireland. Would highly recommend. https://mystaysafe.com/product/bulk-50-pack-individual-packing-face-mask/?v=d2cb7bbc0d23
Many customers have asked us to increase our product range. We have discussed this at length and think the best option for our customers and partners is to continue to develop our disposable mask range and work with other Irish and UK brands to offer additional complimentary products to our customers thru a marketplace on our website. Products like hand sanitizer, cloth face covering etc are examples of what people have asked for. There are many distilleries who have moved into sanitizer for example and we would be happy to discuss offering their range on our web shop marketplace.
We are also interested in working on collaboration projects with other local brands to offer our masks as an added value to the service or product you offer. We strongly believe in teamwork, remember 2+2=5😊
As a longtime runner, there’s something about starting a business that makes it feel like a marathon and a sprint all rolled into one. The buzz and endorphin rush you feel as you’re pounding the pavement, or when the finish line approaches, is actually pretty close to what it’s like when a business you’ve set up hits a particular milestone or reaches a goal you’d set.
Except that I was never planning to be in the race.
When we started in March, we weren’t thinking of this as a business opportunity. For us, it was just about finding a way to help and to give back during a public health crisis. All of us who founded Stay Safe Masks had families directly affected by Covid-19. We had long-standing manufacturing contacts in the Far East, so it made sense to see if we could source much-needed PPE and medical masks for frontline healthcare workers.
But when sourcing and supply became a problem, we had a decision to make, and fast. Time was against us, and we didn’t have the luxury of waiting around for products. The logistics of sourcing good-quality face masks and getting them back to Ireland was proving to be a nightmare. Even now, the supply line from Asia is still heavily compromised.
So, needing to react quickly, we decided to manufacture here in Ireland. This was all about ensuring speed to market. At the same time, the public health advice was moving towards recommending wearing face masks to cover the nose and mouth in settings like crowded areas, or on public transport. So it was becoming clear that people would need masks in large numbers, without taking away from the supply of PPE into the healthcare system.
Now that we’re in the middle of unlocking a lockdown, businesses are planning to reopen, and they want to make sure they’re protecting people when they return to the workplace.
Within weeks, we had created the lineup and the initial range of masks, and by the middle of May, we were ready to launch. If I stop to think back on what it was like to launch a business 15 or 20 years ago, the difference in pace has been incredible.
The learning curve has been just as rapid. Personally, I enjoy the feeling of being outside my comfort zone. Having worked in consumer electronics for years, and more recently in cycling apparel, which I’m very familiar with, it’s been invigorating to deal with the challenge of pivoting to a completely different industry like face masks.
Improvements in manufacturing technology have played a big part in increasing speed to market. Manufacturing in Ireland has proved to be way more flexible compared to the rigid, and long, supply chain from China. We’re now dealing in days and hours, compared to weeks and months.
What’s unique about producing the face masks in Ireland is that we’ve been able to rapidly customise to cater for the demand from retailers like Fresh, Spar and Maxol, and that’s proved to be a huge selling point. We started with a 50-unit bulk pack, but some of our customers started asking if we could produce individually wrapped masks. So we did.
We can produce bundles of three, five or seven masks, and we can even do dual-branded packaging at much lower numbers than we could if we were ordering and producing out of the Far East. I remember back when we were producing consumer electronics out of China, the minimum order runs were in the tens of thousands. The pace of change has been incredible, and at the same time, there’s an amazing sense of achievement that comes from doing it all here in Ireland.
When I think back to the mid-2000s, we started producing the Leaf, an iPhone case made from a recyclable polymer. We tried to make it completely in Ireland. At the time, there just wasn’t the same manufacturing knowhow that they had in Asia. Since then, there’s been a lot of collaboration and knowledge transfer, and the machinery, tooling and automation have helped to change the game.
What’s more, it feels like we’re tapping into a tremendous amount of goodwill towards local business. One of the trends that emerged out of the pandemic was a sense that we’re in this together, and a willingness to support Irish businesses.
All of us on the Stay Safe Masks team have been feeling that buzz, and that energy. Even though we’ve been working remotely, the enthusiasm still comes through on the video conferences and the calls. And as any runner will tell you, the encouragement of the crowd and your team-mates is a huge motivation to keep the pace going, no matter where you are on the course. Now, we’re starting to think about a UK market launch, so our race still has some way to run.
For vital supplies, using local manufacturing is good risk management.
Taking stock after two months of restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19, this unprecedented time has shown us that we can’t always rely on simple things that we took for granted until recently. From a business perspective, the pandemic has shown the value of thinking through different scenarios. In a time of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to have contingency plans and backup options so you can react to changes in events.
When my business partners and I started StaySafe masks, our aim was to get supplies quickly and cost-effectively, so naturally the first place we looked to when sourcing the masks was Asia. We were dealing with a commodity product and this type of business is normally driven by prices. Right now, the region has the biggest manufacturing facilities in the world, and we had built up strong business connections there over the years. So it made sense at the time to look at where we could source the product at the lowest cost, to be able to pass on the savings.
But the latest health advice shifted towards recommending widespread use of face masks not just in healthcare settings but for the general public. So global demand has soared, and because everyone has gone to the same source, the supply has become constrained.
In fact, it’s three problems wrapped up into one. With manufacturers coming under huge pressure from all over the world, guarantees of supply are hard to come by. Then, unless you have people on the ground, it can be difficult to stand over the quality of the product. Thirdly, even if you can satisfy both of those criteria, there’s still the logistical challenge of shipping the items back to your home market.
In the past, it might have been possible to spread the load across several commercial flights using their underbelly cargo, but many airlines are grounded because of Covid-19. As a result, the choice is between being the highest bidder to get space on freight aircraft or else chartering a plane. Neither option is cheap.
So what’s the solution? It’s time to diversify your supply chain for critical medical supplies. By working with a manufacturer carrying out some or all production within the EU market, European businesses can spread the risk, this is good risk management.
At StaySafe, we took the decision to invest in new manufacturing capacity located in Ireland, to be able to stand over the quality of production, make firm guarantees about consistent supply, and ensure quick delivery to customers.
We are seeking long-term partnerships with businesses that will need high volumes of masks to protect their employees and visitors in the workplace. This will enable us to continue investing in automation that keeps us as competitive as the traditional manufacturing powerhouses.
The more long-term commitments we can secure from partners in the early stages, the greater our ability to scale and guarantee supply even as demand escalates.
This is a decision for chief executives, MDs, owners, and boards. Cost can’t be the only deciding factor. Think of it this way: now that many businesses can start planning to reopen as the restrictions lift, how much would it cost a company if it had to close doors again because it had run out of face masks and protective equipment for its employees?
I’m not in any way downplaying the model of manufacturing in the Far East. Nor am I arguing in favour of protectionism. As a consumer and a businessman, I’ve benefited greatly from globalisation. Two of my past businesses, TNS distribution and JIVO, sourced most of our products in China.
But I’m also a realist. When there’s a product with high demand that’s likely to continue for some time, it doesn’t make sense to concentrate supply chain risk in the place where it’s most volatile.
This is about prudent risk management. It’s a simple fact that with rising need from every corner of the world, the further we are from the supply chain, the less control we have as a buyer. Working with a local manufacturer makes your supply chain more resilient and less risky. In a time where there’s so much change and uncertainty, what price would you put on being able to feel in control?
New Irish-made face masks come to market in time for easing of restrictions.
A new Irish company, StaySafe Masks, is launching high-quality face masks to help people get ready for the reopening of businesses and easing of restrictions that were put in place to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Made in Ireland using new manufacturing equipment, the masks are available to buy now. They are intended for consumers who want to wear them for travelling on public transport, doctor’s visits or in the workplace.
StaySafe is also launching a social media campaign to donate 1,000 free masks to a deserving cause every week for the next four weeks. To enter, customers simply upload a photo showing themselves wearing their StaySafe mask together with the StaySafe box, to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #mystaysafeselfie. A winner will be chosen every week and StaySafe will donate the masks to that person’s chosen charity or good cause.
The StaySafe mask is highly breathable, splash-resistant, and made of a soft non-woven material to make it as comfortable as possible. The CE-certified product has a polypropylene filter with a bacterial filtration rate of more than 98%. When sold in bulk packs, the masks are available individually wrapped, to avoid the risk of contamination before use.
The five company principals behind Stay Safe Masks, John McHugh, Ivan Eustace, Mark Gibbons, Ed Corkery and Alan Eustace, are experienced business people and entrepreneurs with backgrounds in consumer electronics, retail, supply chain management and quality management.
Having originally tried to source masks through manufacturers in the Far East, they pivoted in April 2020 and began developing manufacturing capacity in Ireland. They invested in new manufacturing capacity to ensure consistency of supply while maintaining oversight of quality. All packaging and design has also been sourced from Ireland.
“We wanted to produce an affordable, highly effective face mask to bridge the gap between homemade masks and medical equipment. This is a convenient, consumer product and is different to N95 or FFP2 masks that frontline healthcare workers need,” said Stay Safe co-founder John McHugh.
“From personal experience, we all saw the difficulties in sourcing PPE so that’s why we invested in brand-new manufacturing capability here in Ireland, so we wouldn’t be affecting the supply of much-needed equipment into hospitals or nursing homes,” Ivan Eustace added.
Stay Safe Masks are available to order online from http://www.mystaysafe.ie. The company is in talks with supermarket chains, convenience stores and other retailers. It also plans to provide bulk orders to business premises with high footfall. A bulk pack of 50 masks is available for €49.99 and shipping is free.
Independent research conducted by the University of Arizona* has shown that face masks are highly effective at reducing contagion and protecting others. Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has also suggested that face coverings may form part of the response measures as the restrictions ease.
A team of researchers at Arizona State University developed mathematical models to test for face mask wearing, using cases from January to April 2020. Their study, published in the Journal of Infectious Disease Modeling, found face masks “can meaningfully reduce community transmissions of COVID-19 and decrease peak hospitalisations and deaths”.
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