Our New Favorite Mask—and We Designed It!
After searching for the perfect mask and not being able to find one that was quite right, our merchandising team at Custom Ink decided to create one of our own. They made a list of all of their favorite features from existing masks along with a pretty hefty wish list and then found a manufacturer who could make their mask dream a reality.
We caught up with Merchandising Development Managers Arlie Yruma and Ann Carney to get the story behind the Customized Super Comfort Cotton Face Mask or, as we’re calling it around the office, “our new favorite mask.”
CI: What roles did you take in the creation of this mask?
AY: Ever since COVID hit us in March, I’ve been obsessed with trying to find the perfect mask. I hunted in every store and online to quickly learn which features the mask needed to be an incredible product. This is a product that goes on your FACE and you have to wear it every day, so comfort had to be in every detail. I also wanted a tailored fit around your face, both for protection as well as just feeling like yourself still during all of this! Drawing the specs for the design will forever be a professional highlight for me!
AC: Fit and function were key features we needed in a mask that we could proudly put our name on. I submitted fabrications, measurements, and samples to the factory for pattern making, construction, sourcing, and ultimately sampling. After a first round of sampling, approving fabric, and measuring every little detail, we resampled twice to ensure we hit the mark and to confirm the factory was meeting our specifications and quality expectations.
CI: What past experience did you use to create this mask?
AC: I have many years of experience prior to joining Custom Ink in developing and producing exclusive products with factory partners. I was very excited to be asked to manage the manufacturing aspects of our very first proprietary product!
AY: I used my years of product expansion for category management. Innovation happens so fast for every product, I knew we had to stay close to what was at retail to be ahead of the customized game in the wholesale market.
CI: Tell us about the new mask. What are its features? What makes it different?
AY: It’s going to fit your face really well, period. We made it with adjustable ear loops that are soft and you can expand or tighten for a perfect fit. We made a moldable nose bridge so that it lays nicely on your nose and stays there. Then we added a chin flap so you felt this was made for your face and talking felt totally comfortable. Finally, a filter pocket for anyone who wanted a third layer of protection. It was also critical that this mask included sizes for adults and kids!
CI: Why did you create the mask? How did the idea come about?
AY: Our customers deserve this mask. It’s hard enough with everything going on, having a great mask should be checked off your list. We want this to be your favorite mask, the one you don’t leave home without!
CI: What kind of research did you do? How many other masks did you look at for reference?
AY: We bought over 100 masks from retailers all over the country. We looked at what our competitors were innovating and bringing to market and kept our eyes on all the new innovation coming out month after month.
AC: Most importantly we tried on every mask sample, not only on ourselves but family members, friends, other Inkers. Knowing that one size does not necessarily fit all, our mission was to find a shape and size that almost anyone would feel comfortable wearing.
CI: What are your hopes for this mask?
AY: I hope that when we read our customer reviews on this mask, that we’re reading that they love it. That will be enough for me. It would also be great if it is our #1 seller, because then I’ll know most of our customers got this incredible mask!
The Customized Super Comfort Cotton Face Mask comes in both black and white and two sizes and can be customized with your design or logo. With its moldable nose, adjustable ear toggles, soft elastic ear loops, antimicrobial finish, filter pocket, chin pocket, and machine washable material, it has all the features you could wish for in a mask.
Get a closer look at all the great features of our new mask in our video interview with Arlie.