Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everybody has had to mask up. And thanks to the demand for masks, three Missouri State University students started their own business selling them.
The business, named Handy Heroes, provides only one product: the COVID Cloak. This is a pocket sized disposable mask made out of the same material of normal disposable masks, albeit pink instead of blue.
Kenzie Flowers, graduate student in business administration, said the business was created with two other students in ENT 543 New Venture Management with prompting from Assistant Management Professor Daniel Goering.
Flowers, chief marketing officer for Handy Heroes, said the idea came about in early November 2020. Flowers said the idea original idea for the company was providing a way for customers to clean their reusable masks. But when she realized many people don’t think about cleaning masks and instead mainly forget them, the business pivoted into providing masks.
Over time, the business’ focus shifted to helping customers have a mask on them at all times.
“Our little slogan is ‘Cover your face before you catch a case,’” Flowers said. “We've done a humorous take on the disposable mask; we package them similar to condoms. It's just a small little mask wrapper. So, you can store it in any bag or purse, and you can just open it up and it's ready to be used whenever, free of bacteria.”
Brayden Jones, senior administration management major and chief operating officer, and Alex Fonrodona, senior entrepreneurship major and chief human resources officer, make up the two other founders of Handy Heroes.
Jones said Handy Heroes wasn’t his first start up business, though this one is more of a passion project. Since the business is “just scraping by,” Handy Heroes will probably disband post-pandemic.
Fonrodona said starting the company took a lot of trial and error. Handy Heroes had to obtain wrappers, masks from China and seals all for an affordable price. Fonrodona’s main goal for the company was to sell products, as well as gain publicity for the three founders.
Fonrodona said he would like for the business to continue post-pandemic but knows the market for masks will shrink drastically as well.
Flowers said as of Thursday, Feb. 11, Handy Heroes sold 260 COVID Cloaks.
Follow Tinsley Merriman on Twitter, @merrimantinsley
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