Business responds to soaring demand for face masks

He has become something of a mask mule.

Challenge Marketing owner Adrian Hocking joked it was a slightly strange feeling dropping off small boxes at homes and businesses around Dunedin.

But there was nothing dodgy in the deliveries as the boxes contained only masks, Covid-19 providing a major boost for the Dunedin business which sold branded merchandise and apparel.

Challenge Marketing owner Adrian Hocking displays branded face masks which have been selling fast...
Challenge Marketing owner Adrian Hocking displays branded face masks which have been selling fast. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
In a week, the business had dispatched nearly 10,000 face masks, most branded for businesses.

About 1000 were sold on Monday and the level of uptake had taken the firm by surprise, Mr Hocking said.

During last year’s Covid-19 outbreak, the business went through ‘‘thousands’’ of face masks, but before this year’s lockdown, sales had stopped.

Mr Hocking had given away about 600 masks, thinking that was the end of it.

Once the announcement was made that the country was going back into lockdown, demand soared and momentum had not slowed — ‘‘and I don’t think it’s going to’’.

While some other providers had been caught up with supply chain issues, Challenge Marketing had not had any issues, sourcing masks from China and Australia. Keeping them affordable was something he felt was a social responsibility.

The pandemic had also caused a spike in sales in other products.

Around August last year, the firm could not understand why it was selling so many pens.

It discovered that people were afraid of germs on pens and about eight months of usual pen orders were sold in a month.

The business employed 20 staff in Auckland, four in Dunedin, plus several home-based staff.

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