Frederik Filz von Reiterdank, an enterprising physics postgraduate at Oxford, has co-founded a 0% margin PPE initiative called Mask Bros. The student-led start-up is selling masks and respirators at cost price to protect the public from Covid-19.

Having launched on Saturday, Mask Bros has already received orders for over 10,000 masks, and are restocking an additional 50,000.

They are manufactured specifically for public use, not for medical use, and are resold at an affordable wholesale price.

Filz von Reiterdank told The Blue:

“People exploiting a crisis [drove us to found it]. We were looking to get PPE for StudentsAgainstCorona and quickly realised what a dark market PPE is. There are a lot of counterfeit products and the products that are of the right quality are being sold at extortionate prices.”

“Consumers are paying between 3x and 12x wholesale price for essential PPE, whereas a typical retailer (for a normal product, in a normal market) charges 1.3x wholesale price. Mask Bros sells PPE at 0% markup (1.0x our purchase price)”

“We source masks from trusted manufacturers in China that either we or one of our European partner import-export firms have successfully ordered from before.”

It says on their website: “Opportunists and price gougers have been retailing essential PPE for over 500% of cost price. We’ve leveraged our supply connections to cut out the predatory intermediaries and offer the quality masks we all need at the prices we all deserve.”

He co-founded Mask Bros with Cogan Wade, a finalist at the University of St Andrews, where Frederik graduated in 2018.

Frederik also co-founded StudentsAgainstCorona, a non-profit community-helping organisation, with his sister Irina in March. So far, they have aided 100,000 people worldwide. The 23-year-old set up the volunteering group after his grandmother had problems with food deliveries in the Netherlands, the BBC and Forbes have reported.

The StudentsAgainstCorona website states that: “Whether it’s buying a carton of milk or walking the dog, there are simple tasks that people in isolation or at high-risk cannot perform on their own. We have a responsibility to both #flattenthecurve and take concrete action to lighten the burden on those most affected.”

Phoebe Hennell

Phoebe Hennell is co-founder of The Oxford Blue, and former Managing Director. She is reading Philosophy and Modern Greek at Christ Church, and is on her year abroad in Athens.