Behind the brand with Airinum’s co-founder Fredrik Kempe
What sets Airinum apart from other face mask brands?
From the start, our focus has been on combining progressive, science-led product development with Swedish design principles - that is, an emphasis on functionality while creating something desirable and wearable. The result is industry protection tailored to end-consumers like no other mask brand out there.
What goes into the product development process?
We follow a structured new product development gate process like the big companies do, we just do more with less people! Depending on the product, the time to develop it can be wildly different. For example, it’s taken two years to develop the new Air Mask Active because we built it from scratch.
How is this different from what some other mask brands do?
If you take something from the shelf and put your branding on it, you can get it out within a few months. But if you do your own tooling, you need to iterate on the shape and design - and you need to do it again and again. We never compromise on protection, so it takes time to get it right. We pushed back the launch of the Air Mask Active several times because we felt it wasn’t up to scratch yet.
Who designs the products?
We have a couple of industrial engineers working in-house, and then we have external agencies supporting us in different fields. So we sit on the core knowledge in-house, like the design and testing, but then making the CAD files is complex tooling that we outsource to specialist agencies. We know where our strengths lie and where we need support.
What technical features should people look for when choosing a protective face mask?
First and foremost, they should look for industry grade protection like KN95, N95 or FFP2 masks. Besides that, it’s all about comfort. They should be able to breathe easily without a build-up of moisture inside the mask, or too much pressure on the ears which can be uncomfortable. Our masks include foam on the nose which means people can wear glasses without them fogging up. These things you get to know once you know your customers and from the get-go, we’ve always listened closely to their wants and needs.
What’s next for Airinum in terms of groundbreaking tech?
That would be telling! What I can say is that where we really excel is our air-filtering technology. Naturally, we will continue to develop this as well as finding new ways to filter out other climate change-related health hazards. Watch this space!