Cláudia Azevedo Lopes
It was in March, when the pandemic took Portugal by storm, that João Pereira Guimarães, specialized in the production of ketten knit in artificial fibres, joined the Island Cosmos manufacturing company to produce a reusable and sustainable mask. Six months past and more than a million masks sold, the future seems to be linked to this business segment, which allows the company to remain economically viable in Covid-19 times.
“We started by producing some handmade masks for our employees at the factory, using one of our meshes, which we coated with an antibacterial and antiviral treatment. That was when the idea to start producing masks with this fabric came up. I got in touch with Fernanda Valente, from Island Cosmos, who made a mask model ”, revealed Carolina Guimarães, João Pereira Guimarães’ manager.
Sustainability was an essential motivation from the beginning because “disposable masks are the real enemy now. They pollute the environment and end up being more expensive than reusable ones”, guarantees Carolina Guimarães.
“The ecological aspect is very important to us”, concludes Fernanda Valente, who is also already producing a reusable water-repellent suit for up to 50 washes.
Finished with an antibacterial and antiviral treatment, the masks are certified by the Footwear Technological Center for 25 washes, and by CITEVE for 15.
Now, with more than one million units sold, the next step is to start selling directly to the public, in a business sector that has allowed the company to continue working, without ever resorting to lay-off. Currently, this new business represents 25% of João Pereira Guimarães’ total turnover, which in 2020 expects to maintain the same numbers achieved in 2019.