Marleen Vogelaar, founder of a Newburgh-based activewear apparel company named Ziel, expanded her front when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and began creating personal protective equipment (PPE), resulting in the almost-here Hudson Valley Mask Co.
Hudson Valley Mask Co. “combines cutting-edge technology and precision-made textiles” to create N95 masks for small healthcare facilities across New York State.
The idea is based on what Vogelaar has been doing at Ziel since 2015. The company is based on a made-to-order system, which Hudson Valley Mask Co. will also reflect.
“I really love the on demand world,” said Vogelaar. “Customers get exactly what they like and you make exactly what is needed. There’s no oversupply or waste. It’s very efficient with materials and resources and therefore indirectly better for the planet.”
Vogelaar believes that an “on-demand model of business significantly reduces oversupply and waste to make it more acceptable for people, profit and the planet.” Ziel reports a 40 percent gap between what is made and what is sold, and their model eliminates overproduction. There is no minimum order requirement and products are delivered in under 10 days, exactly how Hudson Valley Mask Co. will operate.
Before Ziel and Hudson Valley Mask Co., Vogelaar was the co-founder of Shapeways, the “world’s largest 3D printing service and marketplace for consumers.” With her background of 3D printing, manufacturing and finance with apparel, Vogelaar brings a new outlook to the industry.
The Ziel model of eliminating overproduction, being sustainable and made locally, will shape Hudson Valley Mask Co and help serve the community in an even greater way. Vogelaar has worked closely with The Accelerator program through the Industrial Development Agency (IDA), where they are able to conduct job training and hire people from the surrounding areas. And that’s one thing Vogelaar can guarantee with the new business – a handful of new job opportunities including positions for machine operators, warehouse assistants, equipment engineers and more.
Ziel had already begun working to produce PPE, including hospital gowns, for frontline medical workers back in April of this year, however the pivot was in November, when they made the decision to create N95 masks.
“Through this, I thought what’s a good way to really make a difference in the pandemic, but also make sure that we can grow the company and continue to invest in Newburgh,” said Vogelaar.
They ordered a full automated N95 machine, which will arrive in the Newburgh facility in early January. By mid-January, they plan to start delivering across the state.
Ziel aims to produce more than 38.5 million masks over five years, with an investment of $1,000,000. Currently they are waiting on approval from both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
“There’s a lot of masks available but still not for all of these small medical businesses,” said Vogelaar, who hopes to serve any kind of small business who is in the medical industry, including everything from general practitioners to acupuncturists or midwives. “These people need to be protected at work and they need these masks.”
Each mask has four layers of protection with the two outer layers being hydrophobic and hydrostatic and the two inner layers being electrostatic filters. The masks exceed NIOSH filtration standards, with a 99.8 percent bacterial and viral filtration efficiency and a 95 percent particle filtration efficiency.
“We’re really excited to be in Newburgh and work with the IDA to invest in the local community,” said Vogelaar.
Hudson Valley Mask Co., at 605 Broadway, is currently taking preorders on its website. Visit hvmaskco.com.