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Q&A: Airinum - Alexander Hjertstrom

Airinum Founder - Alexander Hjertstrom

1) We’d love to know the story behind Airinum. What made you decide to design anti-pollution face masks?

The idea behind Airinum was born during a visit to India. The founder, Alexander Hjertstrom, relocated from Sweden to India to do his MBA studies. While he loved everything with his experience, he fell sick and realised it was due to the poor-quality air he was breathing.

Next thing, he was reading up on everything around pollution and realised it was a ticking health bomb. The health professionals knew about the massive health risk from air pollution, while the general public rarely think twice about what they are breathing.

The possibility of being able to help improve the health of millions of lives, in combination with a good business opportunity that today was dominated by industrial giants bi-products, became the tipping point and the next day, the Airinum project was started.

Today, Airinum empowers people all over the world with innovative products to breathe clean air and live healthy, regardless of the surrounding. Airinum also engages actively to help raise awareness & knowledge about our current climate crisis and is a proud partner with 1% of the planet.

2) Face masks is a very niche industry; how do you target the right audiences and define your marketplace?

Face mask is traditionally a protective gear item from the industry. Recently, similar to sunglasses that protect from the dangerous rays of the sun or a helmet, masks have become a new lifestyle accessory. People that want to take control of their life, choose to breathe clean air just like the choice to eat a healthy diet.

Breaking into this niche industry is, of course, difficult, especially because we are a bit ahead of our time. Key for us is to not just be ‘another’ mask brand, but build a completely new category and make it an accessory that people want to wear rather than ‘have to’.

We have invested in making a high-quality product with top performance, consequently with a higher price tag and a smaller audience. Our initial customers are first movers, health-conscious and forward-thinking. We don’t chase big volumes initially but instead want to build a credible brand people trust. Long-term, our ambition is, of course, to serve all corners of the world with different product lines and prices.

3) How often do you wear your Airinum mask?

A mask is perhaps an item you don’t wear all day long, like clothing. It is more similar to sunglasses, you use it when you need to. That could be popping into a crowded bus, walking down a polluted street or when you want to disconnect with the world.

Depending on where you live and your life situation, we have customers using it every day when commuting or just when travelling.

4) We think the design of The Urban Air Mask is very considered. Would you be able to give us a little bit of insight into the technology behind the design?

The functionality and performance of the mask has been our top priority.

- Protection: the mask features an advanced multi-layer filter that can filter out up to 98.9% of particles as small as 0.3 micrometres, invisible to the naked eye. What’s more, the mask has a unique 3D shape and uses memory nose foam for minimal leakage and superior fit-factor.

- Comfort: With a dual exhalation system, the wearer can breathe in new clean air without having to worry about moist. The mask is fully adjustable and can be customised to the shape of the wearers face.

- Design: we have carefully designed the mask to be a lifestyle accessory with its minimal yet elegant finish. The mask skin is anti-bacterially treated and has a replaceable filter system, making it a sustainable long-term item for the user.

5) Do you see The Urban Air Mask is of a fashion accessory or health accessory?

The Urban Air Mask is foremost a health accessory, period. Yet, being a lifestyle accessory, it is also a fashion statement. The mask itself acts as a symbol for something bigger, uniting people for a cleaner tomorrow.

Our mask is used for the smog-filled streets of Beijing, to the raging fires of Australia to the concern of a widespread airborne diseases, while at the same time being seen in the catwalks in Tokyo, the fashion week in Paris and being worn by the world’s largest celebrities.

It is the next generation lifestyle accessory for your health.

6) Sadly, due to recent health concerns, Airinum masks have been extremely popular and are currently sold out. How important is it to look after your health and do you have any other quick tips on looking after yourself when travelling?

Yes, sadly we are sold out. We want nothing else than to serve our customers and help more people around the world to stay safe.

Try to avoid large crowds, wear masks, use hand sanitizers and in general be careful.

7) You label yourself as 'The world's best-advanced mask'. What makes your product the best in the world of masks?

The unique combination of superior protection with a user-friendly design. Explained above.

8) What’s your biggest achievement with the brand so far?

No isolated event on its own can be highlighted but it is our entire journey.

9) What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever been given?

Get to know the perspective of your customers, they are our biggest asset. Set a clear mission and stay true to the long-term vision.

10) What does being sustainable mean to you?

It means considering to have a maximum impact now with minimal negative footprint.

11) Lastly, what’s next for Airinum?

We have exciting times ahead. We aim to become the world’s strongest health tech brand helping people to live healthy despite the environmental challenges. Our vision is that one day we have helped contribute to a better and cleaner world, so our masks won’t be needed any more than we have truly been successful.