Businesses looking to reopen their doors to employees and customers can keep them stay safe - and on-brand - thanks to a Bristol-based textiles company.
New guidelines issued by the government this week (Monday, 11 May) suggest people should wear face coverings in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not possible, such as at workplaces, at shops, and on public transport.
Branded garments specialist Badge Design has launched a range of coronavirus-busting face masks, which are manufactured and printed in the city.
Customers can order face masks decorated to their own specification in runs of just 25 - 10 times less than the minimum order of 250 offered by competitors.
The washable polyester masks are stitched with a pocket into which particle filters can be inserted.
The PM2.5 filters, also supplied by Badge Design, block particles as small as 2.5 microns in diameter - a quarter of the size of the dust or pollen particles caught by DIY or allergy masks - and offer two-way protection, keeping both the wearer and those they come into contact with safer.
And because the company is UK based it can fulfil orders within a matter of days while competitors who source their garments from China are struggling to get supplies to customers before mid-June.
Managing director Grev Leigh spent a month working on prototypes that were effective against coronavirus, comfortable to wear for long periods, practical in design acting as a two-way wall against giving or receiving the virus.
"We are the only company supplying a fit-for-purpose and high-quality re-usable face mask with bespoke branding at such low quantities," said Mr Grev.
"As workplaces begin to reopen, face masks can keep people safe at work and on their way to and from work, if they are using public transport.
"Branded masks are a great way to demonstrate to your customers that you care about their safety, and the safety of your employees," he said.
Badge Design, which has been trading for more than 10 years, is one of the only UK-based companies with manufacturing and printing facilities under one roof.
Manufacturing the masks at its St George, Bristol premises it then uses a technique called sublimation printing to apply inks onto the fabric using a heat press. Unlike transfers and screen print, the finished result is breathable, non-toxic, and permanent.
The company also offers off-the-shelf fun designs for the fashion conscious, smaller masks for children under the age of eight, and its Maskulinity range featuring camouflage and skull designs for customers who want something more edgy.
It has also produced a Thank You NHS mask, and has pledged to donate 50 per cent of the profits proceeds to NHS charities. Thank You NHS masks cost £10 each. Bespoke printed face masks are £6.80 per unit for minimum order of 25, coming down to £3.60 per unit for order of 10,000 or more. Sought-after PM2.5 five-layer filters are £10.80 for pack of 20.
And the company - which currently has the capacity to make 5,000 masks a week - is offering a discount to charities, care homes, emergency services, pharmacies, and GPs' surgeries.
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