The first St Andrews University student to contract Covid-19 is providing facemasks at zero mark-up in a bid to stamp out predatory profiteering.
Cogan Wade was appalled when he saw the inflated prices of face masks after trying, with his friend Frederik Filz von Reiterdank, to source them for their volunteering charity, StudentsAgainstCorona.
They decided to use their contacts in China and Hong Kong and set up Mask Bros, supplying personal protective equipment (PPE) at virtually cost price.
Cogan said: “We found out how hard it is to find a reliable supplier for smaller orders of PPE and the ones that we could find charged us extortionate prices.
“One shop was offering them at £1.80 per mask while we now purchase the exact same ones for 29p.
“We established relationships with several European import and export companies that connected us with reliable PPE suppliers.
“We figured that more people must be struggling to acquire masks so they can safeguard themselves, their families, friends and customers.”
The pair met at the university, where Frederik graduated in 2018 with a degree in physics and where Cogan is currently finishing his final term studying history and philosophy.
Frederik is a masters student in software engineering at the University of Oxford and worked at Google for a year as a strategy analyst.
Cogan is a graduate of Marine Corps Officer Candidate School and is set to commission this autumn.
Mask Bros supply PPE at cost price plus a small flat fee to their shipping charge to maintain their website, cover the cost of packing materials, pay for inspections, compensate staff, and scale to offer more products at lower prices.
All products supplied by Mask Bros are made specifically for non-medical public use to ensure that frontline health workers are not deprived of vital medical equipment.
“With the Scottish and UK governments now advising the wearing of face masks in enclosed spaces, it shouldn’t be so hard for the public to find quality protection at an affordable price,” Cogan said.