New Women-Owned High Performance Organic ASTM F3502 Face Mask Promises to Help Reopen Schools Safely
Unicorn Breathing Mask
Kimberly Sky, Founder
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Published – March 8, 2021
CEOCFO: Ms. Sky, there are a lot of mask companies these days, what is the vision and concept behind Unicorn?
Ms. Sky: The biggest vision is to create the healthiest, most sustainable and highest protection non-medical breathing mask in the world. As a purist, I quickly saw that there were no suitable options for me to wear when the pandemic first hit. My mom has a pulmonary disorder that I was extremely concerned about, so I immediately started wearing the N95 and the surgical masks and suggested that she do the same. However, she could not breathe out of them. That concerned me and I too felt like I was breathing synthetic chemicals. I did more research and found out that indeed the materials used to make the surgical masks or N95 masks are not healthy materials, and they are hurting our environment by having to be disposed of the moment the material gets wet. They were also at the time being reserved for medical workers. They’re simply not sustainable or practical for the average person that is out running errands, exercising or talking. What a lot of people don’t know is these disposable masks must be disposed of the moment the material gets damp from breathing or talking, not to mention drinking a beverage and then putting the mask back on, otherwise you are risking a bacterial infection. I was also seeing many frontline workers develop painful breathing conditions such as pleurisy from wearing synthetic mask materials up to 8hrs/day, 5-7 days/week. These disposable masks are also going into our landfills and oceans at an alarming rate. The 1-2 ply cloth masks with zero protection were also not going to do the trick in protecting one from spreading or getting covid. I knew we had to solve this problem, and that is what I set out to do.
This Unicorn mask is made with sustainable and/or organic fabrics, and none of the fabrics come from China, Vietnam or South Korea. This came about after doing some deeper research into China and learning how they douse all of their fabrics in heavy carcinogenic chemicals. I did not want a single fabric for my mask, not even certified organic, coming from China. All of my fabrics are sourced by our in-house Italian designers, and their country of origin and how they are produced is of top concern. I want my masks safe for children ages 3 years and up and our vulnerable seniors.
Finally, as far as the nanotechnology filter protection that we utilize, this was also very carefully selected, as I was not satisfied with your average nanotechnology I was seeing on the market. I wanted the best, the healthiest, the purest form of nano with the highest protection, so I immediately researched New Zealand which is a country I love and would be honored to call home someday. I discovered they have a significant nanotechnology presence that is pure. They do not douse the nanofibers in chemicals, or spray it with anything that is toxic, rather it is completely inert and safe to breathe through for extended periods of time. What you end up with is a mask that allows you to breathe pure. The fabric touching your skin is unbleached/undyed 100% Certified Organic high thread count raw cotton. Each wafer-thin, incredibly lightweight filter is composed of proprietary sonic electrospun nanotechnology with fifteen miles of nanofiber matrix thousands of times thinner than a human hair. The filters are completely safe, highly breathable, and have a protection rating of 99% efficiency all the way down to the virulent particle size of 0.1 microns. Then you have the fashion-forward exterior layer with many practical design options to choose from. The Unicorn mask has a well-designed three-ply construction, meeting the new CDC recommendation. It is also compliant to the new ASTM F3502 face barrier covering standard, for high performance particle efficiency and higher performance breathability.
CEOCFO: Why is nanotechnology appropriate here; what makes it better?
Ms. Sky: It is interesting to note that you may have come across some masks claiming to use ‘nano fabric’ coming out of South Korea, a very different picture from electrospun nanofiber technology. This ‘waterproof’ fabric is not as effective and is highly synthetic, often sprayed or embedded with unhealthy zincs, silvers and other antivirals/antimicrobials. I encourage you to do your research into this and plastics used in surgical masks. Electrospun nanotechnology on the other hand is created by exposing an inert polymer solution to ultrasonic frequencies that form a spider web-like matrix, becoming a highly effective net capturing airborne particulates and pollutants as small as 0.1 microns. It is worth noting the covid particle size is approximately 0.125 microns. When you are wearing a Unicorn mask, you are wearing groundbreaking technology that has received International Innovation Awards and Accolades, as well as being peer-reviewed by top bioscientists. Here is a recent endorsement we received:
"As a biomedical engineer scientist with focused research on nanotechnology for regenerative and translational medicine, I endorse the use of nanotechnology utilized by Unicorn Breathing Mask, specifically with the use of electrospinning nanofiber polymers to filter out particulates down to the 0.1 um dimension. This is crucial when providing effective filters for a breathable face mask as a barrier towards viruses like that of the coronavirus. This mask is capable of protecting one from viral particulates exposure due to its robust electrospun nanofiber innovation and recommended 3-ply construction."
Derek C. Dashti, MS, PhD, MBA(c)
Founder, Inventor, & CEO
CEOCFO: How much attention is the average purchaser paying to what a mask is made of, where it is from, and how are you reaching the knowledgeable people who would like a better product?
Ms. Sky: It has been a difficult process because the former administration was not doing the best job educating about the importance of mask-wearing, let alone that not all masks are created equal. It is helpful to have the Biden administration looking at the science. We are now finding ourselves having a platform a year into this pandemic and finally getting exposure. People that eat organic food and care about only putting healthy materials on and into their bodies are seeking out our product. Teachers who need to be able to communicate clearly and have maximum breathability and protection, and who are struggling wearing two masks, are seeking out our product. Entrepreneurs who need to travel frequently and have maximum protection for long flights are seeking out our product. And parents who want their kids to have the healthiest, most natural mask possible, and be fully protected, are seeking us out. We are doing our absolute best to get the word out to the public that it’s critical to think carefully about what you are putting on your face and breathing deep into your lungs, sometimes up to eight, ten, or twelve hours a day, and understanding that not all masks are created equal. With the new ASTM F3502 standard, we now have a benchmark against which non-medical masks can be measured. Being compliant as an ASTM F3502 mask, we’re in a strong position to reach more companies required by OSHA to get their employees properly outfitted with an adequate protection mask.
CEOCFO: How are you spreading the word?
Ms. Sky: The main way we are spreading the word is encouraging everyone to let your friends know about this new technology. Please pass it on to your communities, companies you work for, your teachers, concerned parents, your favorite restaurants, local grocery stores and coffee shops. Sometimes the best way to let people know is through word-of-mouth and social media, and this has helped us a lot. We also go into schools and educate to let parents and teachers know about this technology. As President Biden, Fauci, CDC and others have stated, masks remain the strongest defense against this virus as new immune bypassing variants continue to emerge. It is critical to be properly protected. Why wear two masks when you can wear one, and receive higher breathability, healthier materials, and the same or greater protection? We are asking concerned Americans to give us a voice, let us speak on your podcast or be interviewed on your local radio or tv network, to help spread the word. It takes a grassroots community effort to help get the word out.
CEOCFO: What was involved in the design as far as the look and color?
Ms. Sky: I went straight to a 35-year fashion veteran from Milan, Italy because I did not know the first thing about mask construction. I do have a fashion background, so I knew what I wanted it to look and feel like. I wanted to use the softest, highest thread count organic cotton, so that you feel like you are wearing a cloud. That was important to me. I wanted you to be able to wear it no matter what the weather was, no matter the occasion, no matter what outfit you had on, or what gender you identified with. I wanted it to be unisex, practical, accessible. Linen was my first choice because it is a natural, largely unprocessed fabric that allows you to be cozy and warm in the winter, but also has a cooling effect in the heat and direct sun. Our linen mask was my first design and is our best seller. Men and women wear it casually and professionally. I also wanted to have some more fun options, embroidery, and sport options that were healthy, utilizing plant-based dyes. I avoid azos found in most dyes, which is a synthetic and carcinogenic chemical that you don’t want to breathe deep into your lungs.
We have a wedding version that we came up with for bridesmaids that is an authentic balinese purple lace. The purple unfortunately is not plant-based dye, but most of our products are plant-based or azos-free. Our designer created a unique construction that allows the mask to protrude slightly so you aren’t sucking in the fabric when talking, in fact your mouth isn’t even hitting the fabric at all, which helps prevent bacterial infections. In this way you don’t have to wash the mask as much if you are just running into the store, because it isn’t touching your mouth constantly. It’s also good if you are grabbing a coffee and don’t want to get espresso on your mask or even lipstick for women. We do always advise that women not wear makeup with our mask though if they can help it. Use this opportunity to give your face a breather! We like to ensure the undyed/unbleached cotton stays in good condition. We always advise masks be washed after travel, attending high-risk events, wearing for more than 3 hours/day or every few days if only using sporadically. The filters are good for up to 200hrs and each mask comes with 400hrs of protection. We always advise replacing filters after attending events or travel. Filters must be removed prior to washing and cannot get wet.
Sizing is based on your weight, so it is super easy to size. We cover all ages 3 years and up with the same level of protection for our kids masks as adults. Kids love our mask and can wear them comfortably without a problem. They are not constantly wanting to take them off because of the comfy and breathable gap-free fit, and the fabric not sticking to their face, a known cause of ‘maskne.’ Remarkably, some of our customers tell me they actually prefer wearing my mask now because they feel protected, aren’t breathing in pollution, and find they are actually breathing in clean air. Some tell me that they will wear the mask long after the pandemic is over, in the streets of NYC, the subway and other congested areas where there are a lot of cars. This mask is also great to have around for natural disasters such as volcanoes, fires, tornadoes and other high-wind events. These filters are capturing all of those airborne particulates less than 10 micrometers in diameter that are known to get deep into your lungs, and even bloodstream, causing serious health problems.
CEOCFO: Looking at the Unicorn Breathing Mask website, the prices seem quite reasonable? Might that prevent people from recognizing the higher quality?
Ms. Sky: We went back and forth on that. For me I did not want to price it higher because it is expensive to make. My moral compass said that my main goal was not to make money doing this, but to help people get safely protected, and help our environment that is getting polluted with disposable masks. My number one goal was to save lives, to save my mom’s life. For me, it mattered to get this mask as affordable as humanly possible so everyone could afford adequate and safe protection. It was a challenge to get the price down to that level because of the quality of materials used. It has been a battle, probably one of the biggest battles of my life to make this mask happen, but it was imperative for me to have the single mom who is living on food stamps be able to afford a Unicorn mask for herself and her children. I would not settle for less. I feel the price is exactly where it needs to be and I want everyone in America to wear a Unicorn protection mask. I want them to feel that they can afford to wear something that is healthy and can help our environment in the process.
CEOCFO: Why is Unicorn Breathing Mask an important company?
Ms. Sky: It is important because it is women-owned, made in the yoga capital of the world in Ubud, Bali, featuring the latest in mask innovation that actually filters down to the virus particle size of 0.1 microns with 99% efficiency. We deeply care, and put tremendous love in everything we do. We have Balinese craftswomen who are making these masks by hand for you with love, ensuring that every detail is accounted for, and that the quality is always going to be consistent. Our sewers wear our masks while making them and are experienced seamstresses. We have had many repeat customers tell us the quality has never changed and is exactly what they have come to expect from us each time they purchase. We are never going to sell out and move production to China, Vietnam or South Korea. That’s a promise! As demand increases, we will continue to hand-make these masks in Indonesia as we have always done, and are prepared for that growth right now. We have opened up more factories in Bali and Indonesia, as it is very important for us to keep things sustainable and maintain rigorous quality control in one country, as opposed to moving production to multiple countries.
Why Unicorn Breathing Mask? Team Unicorn cares and we truly have a mission to help people. We are not in this for the money, and have not used the pandemic to line our pockets like some of the big boys. We are in it for community, unity, solutions to the problems facing us and our environment. We are in this for the long-haul because viruses are here to stay. We want to be prepared for future problems that happen, including yearly natural disasters, and future coronavirus variants. We don’t want to be reliant upon a vaccine that some variants could bypass. This is a long game for us. We are motivated and excited to educate as many people as possible about wearing organic and supporting sustainable, women-owned businesses. From here, we plan to open up an apparel line offering beautiful hats, conscious t-shirts with empowering messages, and expanding our eco-friendly line of Unicorn products. We want to Unite the Unicorns all around the world who care like we do, and are devoted to being a part of the solution.
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