(This is the third instalment of our Budding Entrepreneur Series to help upcoming or struggling Singaporean entrepreneurs.)
Not all face masks are born to be equal. There are some people for whom the standard face masks available in the market are not suitable. This is particularly true of Sikh men.
In fact, some of them could be downright unsafe, says Nirman Singh a Sikh himself. Faced with this serious problem, Singh, a 46-year old business development professional with a Singapore company, decided to design and make face masks customized for men with turbans.
Together with his wife Surinder Kaur, a manager with the Clinical Research Consortium Singapore, they have started manufacturing masks for Sikh men who wear paags (turban in Punjabi). As the masks are reusable, they help to reduce wastage and expense. These are probably the first such masks in Singapore.
India Se Media spoke to Nirman Singh to find out more about this special mask:
India Se Media: How did the idea for this mask come about?
Nirman Singh: The idea for this mask for Sikh men with a turban and beard came about when I started going back to work and realised that conventional masks are not designed for turban Sikhs. It was very uncomfortable and since our ears are covered because of the turban, putting the mask on and taking it off was also difficult and cumbersome. Also, often, the beard gets pushed into the mouth.
India Se Media: So you used your own painful experience to design this mask?
Nirman Singh: Yes, with these pain points in mind, my wife and I decided to make some modifications to conventional reusable masks. As Indians, our nose types are different (taller) so we adjusted the cup size too. These adjustments (see picture above) made the mask simple, convenient and comfortable for Sikhs with turbans to use and be safe at the same time. Now with this special mask there is no discomfort and it is compatible with the turban. To put on and remove the mask easily, we incorporated a velcro strap and we also have filtered masks for those who want extra precautions.
India Se Media: What is the material used?
Nirman Singh: Washable cotton on the outside and polyester for the lining inside.
India Se Media: What were the challenges you faced?
Nirman Singh: Finding materials that were comfortable and safe. We also had to design the cup size carefully to fit the thick bears and broader faces of Sikh men. Also, Sikhs generally have different turban sizes. Hence, we needed to factor in the length of the mask strap to suit various sizes. The key point here is that we created something practical, conducive and comfortable for Sikh men. Whenever we get an order, we listen to our customers and provide them with a solution that works and so far, all those who have bought are happy, satisfied and safe.
(To order these customised masks, Nirman Singh can be contacted at: +65 90218262)