- Carly Castle, a particular schooling instructor from New York City, and her husband began eco-friendly mask company CastleGrade to curb shortages of non-public protecting gear and provide a reusable possibility.
- She collaborated with medical doctors and engineers to develop a secure, sustainable mask — fabricated from medical-grade silicone as a substitute of N95 material — in simply a few quick weeks whereas managing her duties as a instructor and mom.
- Now, Castle mentioned CastleGrade sells round 300 to 400 items each day to clients starting from households to medical teams.
- “When the pandemic happened, and even though things were crazy and I was juggling a million things and my husband was juggling a million things, we felt like this was something we had to do,” Castle mentioned.
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In March, when town shut down colleges and transitioned to digital studying, Carly Castle, a particular schooling instructor with the New York City Department of Education, taught her college students from residence whereas attending to her six-, three-, and two-year-old daughters. As provides for face masks turned scarce, she seen the creativity coming from folks making an attempt to guard themselves.
“At this point, we didn’t really know that we wanted to start a mask company, but my husband always was into eco-friendly ideas, and we always loved sustainability,” she mentioned. “We knew that it was really hard to get a good N95 mask at that point because everything was being saved for frontline workers.”
As considerations over which masks have been the most secure rose, the Castles noticed a chance to be a a part of the answer. This was the beginning of their face mask company, CastleGrade. Through Castle’s husband’s consulting enterprise, Castle Brand Group, which focuses on creating and driving new income streams for manufacturers, celebrities, and startups, the enterprise alternative got here to fruition from a mask created by Anna and Ron Grinvald, a physician and former injection mildew specialist for a number of components on the NASA spacesuit. The couple despatched Castle’s husband some footage of the mask and requested him for assist with the enterprise.
“As soon as he showed it to me, it felt like a lightbulb went off, and we were just like, ‘Wow, this is something that’s really in need that can really help others,'” Castle mentioned. The couple determined to purchase the product off of the Grinvalds and used their very own cash in addition to a family and friends funding spherical to get their enterprise off the bottom.
Building off an unique blueprint
The Castles knew the product wanted extra improvement and alterations. The unique mask design created by the Grinvalds had a small skinny strap, was fabricated from clear silicone, and had a filter that wanted enchancment, Castle shared.
“I made [the strap] wider for better comfort,” she mentioned. “We also changed the color from clear to colors since silicone takes color so well.” Castle labored rapidly to get the face masks prepared for market in eight weeks whereas working 20-hour days. The Grinvalds are in cost of manufacturing and sourcing for the company and the unique producers of the product, whereas CastleGrade has utilized for the patents and emblems globally, that are nonetheless pending.
Castle used her expertise as a mask wearer to find out what options so as to add.
“Masks were leaving marks on our face,” she mentioned. “We were uncomfortable. Masks were blowing in our faces because I think people were just throwing them on the floor when they were done with them.” She additionally did not like how they fogged up her eyeglasses. The CastleGrade masks clear up this with their adjustable straps and silicone materials that suctions to the face. It prevents air from popping out of the perimeters of the mask, which lets you put on glasses with out them fogging up. Instead, the air you breathe comes by means of the filter in the entrance of the mask.
Juggling duties whereas rising a enterprise
Castle stored her duties as a particular schooling coordinator, conducting conferences and educating through Zoom 5 hours out of the day whereas attending to her daughters and dealing on getting CastleGrade to the lots. Although her plate was full, she felt passionate concerning the product.
“When the pandemic happened, and even though things were crazy and I was juggling a million things and my husband was juggling a million things, we felt like this was something we had to do,” she mentioned.
Castle and her husband over the course of a number of months constructed up a group that features a medical board of 4 to 5 medical doctors that they might flip to for recommendation on the masks, in addition to a group of people that labored on branding, delivery, and in the manufacturing facility to supply the masks. Dr. Lauren Becker, a New York City dentist who additionally has a daughter in the identical class because the Castles, was instrumental in the manufacturing course of since her occupation requires her to put on a mask all day.
Meeting calls for
The masks have been straightforward to supply, Castle mentioned, as a result of they did not face a scarcity with medical-grade silicone like they’d have with N95 material. She added that they have not had any points producing massive portions, however because of the pending emblems, Castle is not capable of market the masks utilizing Google enterprise providers, which has been their largest problem. However, in line with Castle, CastleGrade sells round 300 to 400 items per day, and the company made a number of six figures in gross sales in July. Their clients vary from household households to medical teams.
The CastleGrade G-Series Mask is retailed at $39.99 and comes in two colours, gray and blue. The masks are packaged with 5 filters that final for 32-hours earlier than they should be changed.
Sustainability was necessary to think about when creating the mask.
“The fact that you can pop it in the dishwasher at the end of the day because it’s made of medical-grade silicone is really special,” Castle mentioned. “You can actually just take an alcohol wipe and just wipe down your mask or drop it in boiling water for 20 seconds.”
The recommendation Castle would give entrepreneurs with different full-time duties is to have a “good team around you.” Having a group of specialists permits her to distribute accountability. She additionally credit her husband as her largest assist, which frees her as much as dedicate the time she must her college students and the enterprise.