|The three co-founders of Muskon, a face mask maker, pose at the company office in Seoul, Tuesday. From left are Jeong Sang, Mason Kim and Suh Ji-ho. Courtesy of Muskon|
By Lee Min-hyung
|A model wears a knit mask by Muskon. Courtesy of Muskon|
Suh started the mask business in Korea along with two other co-founders ― Mason Kim and Jeong Sang ― in May 2020 when fears of the coronavirus pandemic reached a peak around the world.
With demand for masks surging in line with the pandemic, they felt the need to develop eco-friendly masks by using better materials than those used to create the cheap, disposable ones dominant in the market.
They established Muskon, and decided to offer quality face masks by making use of each of their majors. Suh studied mechanical engineering, while Jeong majored in social technology and Kim learned fashion design in college.
"We came up with an idea of developing a mask with a sleek design that is comfortable and safe enough for users to wear for long periods of time," Suh said.
Muskon sells 3D-printed and knitted masks using Tencel, a cellulose fiber. Suh said the fiber reduces skin irritation and helps the body feel cool, enabling users to comfortably wear it even in mid-summer.
The mask also contains copper nano yarn which is used to kill traces of the coronavirus that can stick to the surface of the mask, according to the Muskon founder. The yarn also has deodorizing effects.
Ever since Muskon started selling the masks in early May, the company has reported an average of 300 percent growth in monthly sales. The company has so far reached total sales of 100 million won ($83,800).
Muskon started exporting the products recently to the United States and is winning a favorable response from the market, according to Suh.
"Even if we have just recently begun selling our masks there, the initial market response is better than expected, so we plan to contact more retail partners (in the U.S.) and expand our business," he said.
He also shared the team's vision to tap into more countries for its global success.
"We are doing research on developing masks localized for each country by changing the design and function," he said.
With the mask brand gaining growing popularity here, the Korea Professional Golfers' Association (KPGA) recently named Muskon its official mask partner.
"For now, our sales come mostly from the Korean market, but we plan to diversify our sales channels into countries in Southeast Asia and Europe," he said.