On the up Rebecca Smith · 3 August 2015
Cambridge Mask Co: Offering protection against pollution through British-inspired masks
Cambridge graduate Chris Dobbing saw the troubles of air pollution in China first hand, while working in Beijing with an education company. Unable to find a mask of suitable quality, he set about creating his own and is now shipping to Beijing from the company’smanufacturer in England. After securing a round of finance earlier in 2015 from a range of angel investors, Dobbing was able to fund the development of the mask. Heaims to capitalise on the extensive ecommerce potential in China, while providing a ground-breaking? filter to help protect as many people as possible. (1) Who are you and what’s your business? My name is Christopher Dobbing, I am the founder of Cambridge Mask Co. We make British designed and manufactured anti-pollution face masks that use a special military technology to filter nearly 100 per cent of bacteria, viruses and air pollution. Our masks come in sizes suitable for the whole family and in a range of 12 Britain-inspired patterns. (2) How long have you been around for? I moved to China in 2012 and soon realised the scale of the air pollution challenge. Many of the young students I was working with were getting ill and I wanted to find something to protect them. I couldn’t find anything that was as effective as I wanted, so I founded a business to create the best pollution mask possible. (3) How will you make money? Our masks retail for around 22. In Asia we sell through international hospitals and schools. A lot of corporate clients also want to buy them as we can brand any company logos or patterns. They make a great gift for staff in places like China and show staff that their health is valued. (4) What makes you different and why should people take notice? This summer we are doing an “extreme mask test”. Although we already have lab tests, real-world test data and reviews, we wanted toprove a point.’so, we have asked three intrepid adventurers to spend two weeks travelling 3, 500km across Northern India on a three-wheeled seven horsepower rickshaw. They will be exposed to smoke, bacteria, dust, cow manure and everything else you can imagine, doing the most extreme consumer mask test ever conceived. (5) What was key in terms of getting started? Finding a material that was powerful enough to absorb and kill viruses was really challenging. I spent a huge amount of time ordering samples from suppliers all over the world. In the end, I was proud to find a British business that was spun-out from the Ministry of Defence which makes a ground-breaking filter that I could use. it’s the core of our product and really sets us apart. (6) What’s your biggest achievement to date? I was interviewed by the BBC in London back in June. The Chinese section did the interview and asked me to do it in Mandarin. It was quite a struggle, but I was really proud that my language level has got to a point where I can give interviews, even if the language is rather basic! (7) What setbacks have you had along the way?
ABOUT THE EXPERTRebecca Smith
Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.