In March 2020, the world changed how it operated. Stores shuttered their doors, schools turned to online learning, and people started looking for different ways to protect themselves. Purple began with a belief that everyone deserves to be comfortable, whether if it’s sitting, standing, sleeping, or whatever position you find yourself in. And so our exploration into how we can create comfort in the new normal began.
Like everyone, we saw news stories about face mask shortages, and a new term “ear fatigue” surfaced regarding how the ear straps on masks make the tissue behind ears tired and raw. With our company tenets of “Make it Amazing” and “Improve Lives” firmly in the forefront, we set out to create the best face mask we could.
Not only would creating face masks help the communities we care so much about, it became a personal project for us as we wanted to ensure work for our employees as well as our supply partners. We proudly manufacture in the US, and most of our supplies are sourced from other US companies. We believe helping them all stay actively working also increases the security of their families and communities they’re in. With this new initiative, we were able to bring back formerly furloughed employees, and began testing out new ways to make an impact on the discomfort people were experiencing daily with face masks.
We decided to tackle face masks with two problems we heard repeatedly in reports: breathability and a comfortable solution to the elastic ear holds. We first started with our proprietary material that underpins the comfort in most of our products called Hyper Elastic Polymer ®. Hyper Elastic Polymer ® can stretch up to 400% its resting size, and it bounces back easily which increases its durability and life span. We use it in our mattresses, pillows, and seat cushions to disperse any pressure, and so we knew that would be a good material to use around the ear. We engineered special machines in our US-based factory to produce bands made with the Hyper-Elastic Polymer® and the result was an ultra-comfortable ear band that stays temperature-neutral and doesn’t lose shape.
With one problem down, we looked at the materials used in our Harmony Pillow, dubbed The Greatest Pillow Ever Invented, for further clues into how we could create a face mask no one would want to take off. One of the many benefits of the Harmony Pillow is its moisture wicking Breeze Mesh cover. It offers breathability for airflow, while also being hypoallergenic, and washable. We placed a 100% cotton filter that exceeds CDC recommendations, made with top of the line manufacturing techniques, sandwiched inside layers of Breeze Mesh. When tested, this triple layer turned out to be incredibly comfortable, and breathable, but also effective for low barrier personal protection.
Once we had the materials nailed down, we knew we now had to create the most comfortable face mask ever. An integral member of the team was our Senior Director of Innovation, Russ Whatcott. As designs were being perfected and tried out, he was thinking about his sister, who is a nurse, and thinking of how we could create a mask comfortable enough for prolonged use.
It took 6 weeks and over 60 different prototypes to come up with the final product. We had some hurdles to face, like specifically engineering our specially made machines to create the Hyper-Elastic Polymer® in the right width and circumference to create the ear holds. And because of the unique properties of our Hyper-Elastic Polymer®, we had to think and ideate how best to attach the ear holds to the face covering. Our team worked into the night (our mattresses missed us, and we missed them!) and through weekends, holidays, birthdays, and graduations with hundreds of hours clocked to land to where we are.
The greatest pillow ever invented is now a mask. We took the best materials and reimagined them to create the most comfortable, breathable, washable and reusable face mask ever. Only Purple brings you a face mask specifically designed to be comfortable for hours at a time and follows the CDC’s recommendations for personal use. With its triple layer protection, and its Hyper Elastic Polymer ® ear bands, the Purple Face Mask offers the best marriage between comfort and protection truly allowing you to take comfort everywhere you go.