Suh Ji-ho, co-CEO of an eco-friendly knitted mask company, hopes to launch more exclusive face masks located for each country to set a new paradigm in the mask industry. Suh and two other co-founders − Mason Kim and Jeong Sang − began the mask company in Korea in May 2020 when fears of the coronavirus pandemic reached a height worldwide.
With demand for masks growing in line with the pandemic, they felt the need to produce eco-friendly masks using better materials than those used to make the market-dominant cheap, disposable ones.
They founded Muskon, and decided to make use of each of their majors to offer quality face masks. Suh studied mechanical engineering and Jeong studied social technology and at college Kim learned fashion design.
“We came up with an idea of developing a mask with a sleek design that is comfortable and safe enough for users to wear for long periods of time,” Suh said.
Muskon uses Tencel, a cellulose fiber, to sell 3D-printed and knitted masks Suh said the fiber reduces skin irritation and helps the body feel cool, allowing users to wear it comfortably even during the mid-summer months.
According to the Muskon maker, the mask also contains copper nano yarn which is used to destroy traces of the coronavirus which can stick to the mask surface. Also, the yarn has deodorizing effects.
The company has reported an average growth of 300 percent in monthly sales since Muskon started selling the masks in early May. Until now, the company has achieved total sales of 100 million won ($83,800).
Muskon has recently begun exporting the products to the United States and is gaining a favorable market response, Suh said.
“Even if we have just recently begun selling our masks there, the initial market response is better than expected, so we plan to contact more retail partners (in the U.S.) and expand our business,” he said. He also shared the team’s vision to tap into more countries for its global success.”We are doing research on developing masks localized for each country by changing the design and function,” he said.
The Korea Professional Golfers’ Association (KPGA) recently named Muskon its official mask partner, with the mask brand gaining increasing popularity here.
“For now, our sales come mostly from the Korean market, but we plan to diversify our sales channels into countries in Southeast Asia and Europe,” he said.