A couple from Singapore has launched an innovative new product for a niche audience; Sikh men who often have difficulties putting and adjusting with a face mask for daily use.
Singapore based couple Nirman Singh and Surinder Kaur realised that the conventional masks available in the market were not particularly compatible for a Sikh man who wear turbans and sport a beard.
Speaking with the Indian Weekender over the phone, couple of weeks ago, much before the decision of face-mask being made mandator here in NZ on every public transport, Nirman had discussed the changed reality of a post-Covid world and how it was impacting Sikh men, in particular in the South East Asian nation.
"When I started wearing masks on a regular basis, very uncomfortable, and since our ears are covered because of the turban, putting the mask on and off was also difficult and cumbersome.
"We can't simply stretch the strings of the mask, as it would not be practical too. Also, often, the beard gets pushed into my mouth," Nirman Singh told The Indian Weekender.
Considering the issues faced wearing an ordinary mask by Sikh men; the couple designed a special mask that would alleviate the discomfort creating ample space for the beard and strap that can be stretched to the back of the head or neck.
"As Indians, our nose types are different, and we adjusted the cup size too," Mr Singh added.
Mr Singh added that it was now much easier to put-on or remove the masks, incorporated a velcro strap and some designs also have filtered masks who want to take extra precautions.
The masks are made of washable cotton as overall material with an inside lining made of polyester.
Mr Singh says behind this innovation were several challenges that he had to overcome in order to design a safe, comfortable, durable mask that can fit a wide range of face sizes.
"Finding the right material that is both comfortable and safe was quite a challenge initially, then I worked on designing the cup sizes of the mask as some men have thick bread and broad faces, and the size of the straps as some people wear thicker turbans," Mr Singh said.
Mr Singh trialled with some of his community members back in Singapore, and so far he has received positive feedback both in terms of comfort, ease of putting on and off and is safe, equal or better than the conventional ones, (single-use and reusable) available in the market.
Nirman had told the Indian Weekender that this initiative was more a social enterprise with a clear goal of helping the fellow ethnic community, wherever they can without any significant profit margin.
"It is a service to our community that we are doing by offering a culturally appropriate product and also supporting our local skilled workers who are experiencing job losses in the current environment," Mr Singh said.
Any individuals and groups based in NZ & Australia are encouraged to contact sourcing of this new product.
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