In the midst of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a Vietnamese private company has hit the home run with its unique product: face masks made from coffee fiber.
Vietnam Veritas Shoes Co., Ltd.’s coffee face masks may be the first of its kind in the industry, at least in Vietnam.
Its director Le Thanh said his company came up with the idea for this kind of face mask at the end of last year, when air quality became a pressing concern for residents in Vietnam’s largest cities.
Thanh noticed wearing a face mask was becoming a habit of many citizens even before the pandemic hit.
But what kept Thanh up at night was how to develop a kind of face mask that is both effective in protecting the wearer from air particulate matter and environment-friendly in that it can decompose easily after being discarded.
“We already had the technology to make shoes from coffee fiber, so I thought of using this material to make coffee face masks”, Thanh told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
When the COVID-19 outbreaks hit, Thanh and his co-workers knew it was a good chance they could grasp to finally put the idea into practice.
Fashion was another one of the entrepreneur’s concerns.
“When people wear a face mask, they not only want an anti-bacterial and environment-friendly mask but also one that is fashionable and well-designed,” Thanh added.
The fashion-minded product designers at Veritas Shoes decided to use four metal rivets, similar to those found on jeans, to fix the masks’ straps.
It took the company many months of hard work to produce the first coffee face masks in April 2020 under the brand name ‘AirX’.
The product was immediately met by warm reception from foreign customers, with many orders for the made-in-Vietnam coffee face masks shipped overseas to Japan, Europe, and the United States in the month following its launch, Thanh said.
AirX face masks are made up of two layers and made with antibacterial technology.
The outer layer is weaved from washable coffee fiber while the inner layer, a biodegradable filter membrane, is produced with a technology utilizing “silver nano” and “coffee,” according to the firm.
Both layers can be taken apart and reassembled easily, with the inner membrane remaining functional for up to 30 days without needing to be washed.
The AirX face masks have been AATCC-certified by the Quality Assurance and Testing Center 3 (QUATEST 3), which is based in Ho Chi Minh City.
The product comes in three-layered, antibacterial packaging.
Thanh said Veritas Shoes has doubled its face mask production capacity and their production lines are operating around the clock to meet customers’ demand.
With an overwhelming number of orders for the coffee face masks, Thanh said he wants to focus on controlling the product’s quality instead of increasing output.
“We will roll out coffee face masks with N95 and N99 membranes soon. We have sent them abroad to be quality-tested,” Thanh said.
AirX face masks currently retail at just over VND97,000 (US$ 4.14) apiece, according to the price listed on a Vietnamese e-commerce site seen by Tuoi Tre News.