Salon Pro Designs Face Mask for Haircuts
Three local entrepreneurs with more than 20 years of experience in the salon and fitness apparel industries just launched a line of face masks designed for ease of wear on the go, in the gym, and during haircuts—since face coverings are likely to be wardrobe essentials well into 2021.
The Keep It With You (KIWY) Mask loops around the base of the neck rather than over the ears or head. Using a Velcro closure, the mask fastens and folds over the neck comfortably, like a scarf.
“When you need it, it’s there, and when you don’t, you just fold it in, and it becomes part of your garment and wardrobe,” KIWY co-founder David McClellan said.
McClellan served as Aveda Corporation’s video director for more than 20 years and is now founder of David R. McClellan LLC, a film and still storytelling company. He left Aveda right before Covid-19 hit and immediately thought about his previous life in salons, an industry hit hard by the pandemic.
Masks and salon scissors don’t mix well, McClellan said. He teamed up with Emma Almeroth, president of MAI Movement, a custom yoga and fitness apparel retailer, and Fuss Marketing owner Kevin Reilly.
Originally designed with the salon industry in mind, the KIWY Mask simplifies the process of getting a haircut during a global pandemic. With zero loops in the way, hair stylists are able to easily cut and shave around ears without restriction, while clients remain safe and compliant with Minnesota’s state-wide mask mandate. The Velcro strap allows efficient on/off and up/down mask movement, McClellan said.
KIWY Masks, made of organic cotton with 3 percent spandex, are available for purchase at kiwymask.com and retail at $14.99 each. A wholesale program is also available for larger quantities at discounted rates. Sales are currently in progress with Amazon and local retailers in the salon space.
Soon after creation and testing, McClellan and Reilly discovered the KIWY Mask was beneficial to much more than the salon industry. For example, essential workers who don’t have the luxury to work from home can now wear a mask all day free from ear loop tugging and soreness. Glasses and ear bud-wearers have one less thing balanced on their ears. And senior citizens with hearing aids don’t have to worry about dislodging or losing their expensive devices. These common mask complaints are all solved with KIWY Mask’s innovative neck clasp.
“It’s a cool little story about an innovation that starts with one particular industry–this idea of salons and this need that they saw very clearly because it comes from that world. And then all of a sudden, you realize, ‘Oh no, this is the general market application.’ It solves a lot of problems,” Reilly said. “The idea of ‘keeping it with you’ and having it on you all the time increases the usage rate, which makes everybody safer.”
McClellan, Reilly and Almeroth aren’t the only mask engineers in town. Minneapolis-based Love Your Melon was quick to jump into mask production in the spring and continues to introduce new styles. For more local designs, check out these protective face masks from Minnesota brands.