FARMINGTON – A local manufacturing company has begun stitching face masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and hopes to be producing 5,000 by next week.
Origin USA initially specialized in the manufacture of Gis, clothing associated with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as other athletic apparel and has since expanded to sell jeans, sweatshirts and boots, among other products. As reports on the spread of COVID-19 began describing a serious pandemic, the company’s founders, Pete and Amanda Roberts, were watching closely.
“We saw the panic and concern worldwide as well as in our community,” Amanda Roberts said via email Monday. “We knew we could help though we were not sure how.”
The Roberts brainstormed, researching other pandemics and looking at their own facilities, Roberts said. What they came up with was the Defender DEF Mask, a reusable, washable face mask with a pocket that can allow for additional filtration to be added. The DEF Mask is not a N95-rated mask, but it can be worn over the N95 as an outer shell, and it provides a reusable mask for the general public.
Origin USA’s supply chain is entirely domestic, Roberts said. She said that the masks are made out of Origin WarpWick©, a breathable textile that has antimicrobial and moisture-wicking properties. The masks are washable, either in a machine or in a sink, and are designed to be reusable.
Roberts said that Origin USA went from producing 770 masks to its current production rate of 3,000 masks a day. The company is continuously improving their capacity, Roberts said, including increasing the number of stitchers, machines and sublimation printers. Origin USA hopes to be producing 5,000 DEF masks within a week’s time.
The company has received more than 17,000 donation requests for the new masks. Roberts said that donations have been focused on local law enforcement agencies, EMS services and other local hospitals as well as nursing homes and community services such as rehabilitation and veteran facilities.
Donation requests can be submitted online at originmaine.com. Donation orders can also be placed through the company’s website, by adding Origin’s shipping address in the appropriate fields and noting “Donation.”