With a wait-list of over 40,000 customers, Evolvetogether is a New York-based brand that makes FDA-approved medical masks. They have already sold 10 million masks in only a few short months. Asian-American jewelry designer Cynthia Sakai started the business last year, shifting away from her previous pursuit in design. In an interview with Fortune, Sakai discusses her brand and receiving FDA certification.
When asked what inspired her to create a face mask brand, and journey away from jewelry for this project, Sakai said, "I’m from New York City and saw firsthand the tragic effects of COVID-19’s first wave. It was a real moment of crisis, and everyone was either in shock or finding a way to help. We knew mask wearing was super important, but there were a lot of knockoff masks, misinformation, and price gouging happening. Affordable, tested medical masks just didn’t exist for consumers. Cloth masks didn’t offer the same levels of protection, and medical masks looked super clinical. There was a real need for affordable, easy-to-wear, and stylish masks that actually worked. I didn’t know how to make masks, but I did know from Vita Fede, my existing jewelry business, how to make good quality products that people were proud to wear. It was surprisingly easy to apply those same aesthetic and design principles to masks—and bring the first consumer-facing medical mask to market during a period of crisis that offered SGS-tested protection, with greater than 98% bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) and 95% particle filtration efficiency (PFE) protection."
"Since day one, our focus has been on performance-tested quality because people’s health is at stake," said Sakai regarding the process of getting certification and development for Evolvetogether. "The first thing we did was find a manufacturing partner that met our litmus tests of being able to produce genuine medical masks, was socially responsible, and was able to produce masks at scale to ensure they were affordable. We were fortunate to find a FDA-registered factory that had long specialized in production of quality personal protective equipment (PPE) for governments and hospitals. From there, we were able to develop masks that were designed for daily living—loosening the ear loops, making the interior softer, adding breathability. And of course, the aesthetic details like crafting custom colors that blend seamlessly with a range of outfits and stamping global coordinates as a reminder we’re all connected no matter our race, religion, gender, or where we live. And most importantly, we went the extra mile of using third-party testing by SGS [an inspection, verification, testing, and certification company] so customers could feel confident that our masks performed exactly as we said."
Information originally sourced from Fortune.