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Stylish swine flu masks rake in moolah

Stylish swine flu masks rake in moolah
Highlights

Here is a mask that not only protects you from air pollution and swine flu viruses but also makes a style statement. “It\'s as good as being on a ventilator. It removes 99.87 per cent of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) and also saves you from the danger of contracting swine flu (which has so far claimed over 700 lives across the country),”

These masks are currently trending in the city. They not only protect you from air pollution and swine flu viruses but also make a style statement

Here is a mask that not only protects you from air pollution and swine flu viruses but also makes a style statement. “It's as good as being on a ventilator. It removes 99.87 per cent of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) and also saves you from the danger of contracting swine flu (which has so far claimed over 700 lives across the country),” said entrepreneur Jai Dhar Gupta, who introduced the Vogmask in India last month.

“I imported the first consignment of 1,000 masks from the US in January and thought I could sell about 10,000 by the end of the year. I sold 10,000 pieces in just over a month, all by word of mouth,” the Wharton-educated Gupta added. As usually happens in such cases, marketing of the mask grew out of an adversity.

“It was in May 2013 that I had returned to New Delhi from the Philippines with the flu. The next year was the most horrible because of the number of drugs being pumped into me. Sometime in October last year I came across this mask online. I thought if it can work in China, why not in India? I ordered eight for myself and my family. Within four to five weeks, my lungs had cleared.

I exchanged five or six e-mails with Wendover Brown, the San Francisco-based co-founder of Vogmask, and she asked why not in India?” Gupta added. “We have already signed up with WH Smith at Indira Gandhi International Airport and will soon be expanding to 40 pharmacies like Guardian, SRL, Apollo and 98.4 across the country and also on Flipkart,” he said.

Simply put, the mask comprises an outer layer of polyester microfibre printed with non-toxic vegetable-based inks. The middle layer is a N99 polypropylene filter. The final active carbon layer is derived from coconut shells. It also has a one-way exhale valve and two ear loops.

The mask is pretty versatile as it comes in five sizes from extra small for babies weighing four to ten kg to extra large for those weighing over 90 kg. Its cost ranges from Rs1,800 to Rs2,200. “Depending on how much you wear it, the mask should last six months. In between, you can also wash the outer layer,” Gupta explained.

By:Vishnu Makhijani

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