Wolverhampton-headquartered toy innovation company Wow! Stuff turned their hand to inventing a new kind of face mask during the early weeks of the pandemic and has now won an award nomination for a TAGIE – The Toy and Game International Excellence awards – in the United States.
The mask is billed as ‘the world's first home printable face mask’.
The Mask Creator app that comes with the masks allows young fashion-conscious people to take a picture of any outfit in their wardrobe and print out a mask to perfectly match it in any colour or pattern.
The mask material is 100 per cent cotton, feeds through any home inkjet printer and meets the World Health Organisation recommendations for breathability and bacterial filtration.
Wolverhampton-born entrepreneur Richard North, who lives in Bridgnorth, had a conversation with wife Karen and daughter Josie, which ended up seeing the idea born when Wow! Stuff co-founder Dr Graeme Taylor joined in.
The idea has proven so successful it's been patented, with Dr Taylor and Josie North as the patent owners, and is being stocked by global retailers including Primark and the world’s largest retailer – Walmart in the USA.
Mr North said: “With the economic slowdown we needed a boost in sales to preserve our workforce at Wow! Stuff. The printable mask has gone off like a rocket with pre-orders of more than eight million masks in seven days.
"There are multiple benefits arising from the success. We have been able to preserve jobs, donate to the NHS Charities Together and encourage young people to feel more comfortable wearing masks."
The mask packs, which retail at £12 for four and £7.99 for two, can be bought at the product's website.