Corro Stories

Corro Brand Spotlight: EquiFit's Alexandra Cherubini Pivots To Make Face Masks For Purchase & Donation

By Riesa Lakin

These are crazy times with the worldwide spread of COVID-19. Most of us have had to change our daily routines—with some more drastic than others. We salute all of our readers, customers, vendors, and partners who are finding ways to make this “new normal” work for their businesses and personal lives. In a time when stories of positivity couldn’t be more necessary, we’re excited to share with you that one of our vendors, EquiFit, Inc., shifted their business to create reusable face masks for both purchase and donation, supporting not just their customers, but also supporting workers on the frontline.

Alexandra Cherubini, Founder and President of EquiFit, felt a strong need to protect and support her employees and customers, while also doing what she could to support the efforts of essential workers. In less than a week, Cherubini and her team went from coming up with the idea to create reusable masks made with the materials she had in-house to create thousands of masks that are currently for sale on EquiFit’s website and being donated to hospitals and organizations for frontline workers.  

Read below to learn how Alexandra and her Research & Development team swiftly transformed her business to create face masks, how you can get your own face masks and support the frontline.   

 

Image courtesy of EquiFit

The team at Corro is so impressed by your decision to pivot your business to create face masks during the pandemic. How did you decide to go in that direction and what did it take for your team at EquiFit, Inc. to get started? 

So, the thought was, "Let's get everyone protected and then with whatever material we have left, we'll make more masks and donate them."

 It started on Saturday morning, on March 21st. I was texting my engineers and we were just like we have to do something. There was the conversation of there not being enough PPE and the need for face masks on the frontline. So, our thought was, "Okay, let's first make face masks for our immediate EquiFit team and family, their families, and then also for my family's medical supply business, AliMed Inc., and for everyone who works there and their families," because we sort of knew at that point that AliMed would stay open since they're an essential business. They ship [medical supplies] to hospitals. So, the thought was, "let's get everyone protected and then with whatever material we have left, we'll make more masks and donate them."

At that point, we didn’t really know where we were going to donate them. We hadn't done the research to see who was accepting cloth reusable masks. It was on Saturday that we started having that conversation, and then on Monday, my two engineers went into the office and had done a bunch of research all weekend on Facebook and the CDC’s website. There are lots of groups that talk about homemade masks now. So, we all did a bunch of research and by Monday afternoon, they created the first prototype. 

We then shipped [the first prototype] to a few medical professionals in Boston and outside of Boston—one person actually being my doctor, Dr. Les Fang at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). He came back to us with a few comments and then, he said that, at one point, most people are going to wear face masks—it probably would become a mandate. It's going to be a big cultural shift for our country. Where like China or other countries are used to wearing face masks, he said he thought there was going to be a need for a mask market and that, in general, people were going to wear them for safety reasons. 

So, fast forward a couple days, we got our prototype finalized and then started manufacturing on that Thursday. During those couple days, I kept getting a lot of texts and phone calls from friends just saying, "Hey, are you guys making face masks?"  At that point, we hadn't put anything on the internet that we were even doing this. It was just our own internal project. So, then we had the conversation of, "Okay, we're getting lots of asks for masks. Can we do this? And if we do it, how can we make it beneficial for the people who really need the masks on the frontlines?”

Image courtesy of EquiFit

So, we devised a program where it was, you know buy X and get X get donated and went live with that by Friday afternoon. It was pretty insane. I've just really been trying to get them out the door as much as possible. In between now and then, we had a bunch of donation masks go out. I mean the videos and the images we've gotten back [from people on the frontline using her masks] are just like…I literally cry when I get those. It's unbelievable! One group [of donated masks] went to my doctor’s foundation. He gave them to doctors and nurses who were in the dialysis unit MGH, and his direction was for the masks to not be used while they’re at the hospital, but when they are commuting back and forth, or outside of the hospital. I think a lot of hospitals want [doctors and nurses] to use, if they can, the disposable stuff right now. Our masks are reusable and washable. 

Image courtesy of EquiFit

That’s awesome! Can you tell me a bit more about the masks? 

When we went to the drawing board it was like, “Ok, what materials do we have in-house?” So the middle liner of the mask is the silver fabric that we use in our standing wraps, the AGSilverTM, and the two outer layers of the masks are the cotton we use in the boot binding. So, we drew from all product materials that we had in-house.

Image courtesy of EquiFit

Are you offering a “1 for 1” program? Can you also tell us more about some of the recipients of the donated masks? 

Yes, we’re now doing buy one, we match one; buy five, we match 5; buy 10, we match 10. 

One of my friends in the horse world has a client that works at Sloan-Kettering in New York. She had ordered a couple for her and then we heard the story of who they were going to and that’s we donated 75 masks to Sloan Kettering. We got this awesome video of them there, which was amazing. 

We sent some to the Keene Fire Department in New Hampshire. Our East Coast sales manager’s husband is on the team there and they needed some. So, it's really a little bit of who comes to us, and, at the time, where it’s needed. Another batch went to the Boston SWAT team. We had a group of masks go out to California. Somebody actually emailed us recently and asked us for a donation at a hospital. So it has been a varied group of people that we donated to and we're just trying to help where we can. 

Image courtesy of EquiFit

If we can just help right now, even if it’s just a few people, we’ll do whatever we can.

How can Corro readers get their masks?

You can purchase EquiFit’s 3-ply masks now on Corro! Your purchase will help us continue to support essential workers. You can also find your favorite  EquiFit products, here.