July 19, 2024

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Starting as an online business with a simple, if unique, goal, Aussie startup Mask Co is all set to take its quest to turn the smell of farts into hot jam donuts to supermarket shelves – having sold more than three million bottles of its fun fragrances since its initial launch in a Sydney kitchen.
“Air fresheners with traditional or old-fashioned scents just don’t do it for many people. They want something cute, fun and quirky. Surprisingly, a lot of people don’t want their farts to smell like roses, they want them to smell like something more cool like lemonade icy pole or bubblegum blast,” says Mask Co founder Jason Morrisby, who started his online business with a modest startup fund of only $300.
“Our tagline is ‘spray the fun’. We create products to make your home happy. We create instant feel-good times and nostalgic memories. Our products are everyday mood boosters and we like to think that we are reinventing the home by bottling fun, joy and happiness.”
If the goals sound ambitious, they’re certainly no more ambitious than the fragrances themselves, with Mask Co and Morrisby’s humble beginnings no barrier to the plans for what the online business hopes to achieve. For Morrisby, particularly, the process having brought him and his business to a now 700-square-meter warehouse and over 20 staff from the beginnings in his tiny Sydney kitchen has also done little to dent his sense of humour.
This may owe, in no small part, to the patience it took him in Mask Co’s earliest days – mixing the startup’s first fragrance products in a protein shaker as Morrisby laboriously searched for the formula that worked.
“[The first experiments] smelt great, but there was a problem. We were mixing oil and water so we were seeing a separation of ingredients so we had to quickly learn about surfactants and emulsifiers,” Morrisby tells Power Retail, “It wasn’t until over 300 mixes later, we had a uniform solution.”
Quick to ease the potential concerns of onlookers, Morrisby stresses that he didn’t drink his protein shakes from the same shaker responsible for the business’ initial product testing.
“We had two shakers of course! One for fragrances, one for breakfast. Fragrances actually don’t taste that great so we were vigilant that we didn’t get them mixed up,” says Morrisby, “Looking back now, it sounds like a laborious task as a protein shaker is only 1 litre. We are now lucky to have fully automated filling and capping machines that can produce 10,000 bottles daily.”
If the early days of the product’s manufacturing were modest and unassuming, the initial inspiration for the idea behind Mask Co may well be even more so.
“I saw a product in the USA that was a ‘before you go’ bathroom spray. I thought it was a fun product so I bought one,” Morrisby recalls, “It worked great but the fragrance was kind of boring. I thought that a fun product deserved a fun fragrance so I released a bunch of fun fragrances – hot jam donut, musk sticks and banana lollies. It just blew up.”
Mask Co’s all-time best selling fragrance taps into happy memories for Aussies with a sweet tooth
A quintessential Australian treat, the brand’s musk sticks fragrance has been a particularly strong hit since its initial release, having fast assumed the title of Mask Co’s all-time best seller as consumers have turned to nostalgia aplomb to address the worst smells from their bum! Asked if he is eyeing off introducing the smells of any other Aussie childhood favourites, Morrisby lights up as an idea strikes him, “Nerd ropes! You just gave me a great idea!”
“Actually, we already have fruit loops, red frogs and we will soon release killer python and sour patch lollies,” Morrisby continues, “We release fragrances monthly – customers love this and it keeps the brand fresh.”
Another way Morrisby and the team at Mask Co have looked to keep the brand fresh is by seeking the input of the community it has built around it, inviting consumers to submit their own ideas for future fragrances… with sometimes varied results.
“One customer wanted a ‘poop’ scented fragrance for our toilet spray range,” Morrisby says, “I am still a little confused about that!”
Morrisby and Mask Co are not shy, however, about thinking outside of the box with how they look to develop relationships with their customers. A part of this, Morrisby suggests, is about maintaining a personal touch with their business.
“We aim to put a smile on customers’ faces through every touchpoint – email, handwritten cards, social media. Last year we asked the question on our cart page ‘We are doing a supermarket run this afternoon. Want anything?’. This was fun for the customers and we did our best to fulfil their requests,” Morrisby says, “We ended up sending the strangest stuff! One customer even wanted a frozen chicken! We couldn’t fulfil this request of course so we sent chicken stock instead.”
“That was a fun exercise and I hope we don’t lose that personal touch no matter how large the brand grows.”
Now based in Byron Bay, Mask Co founder Jason Morrisby suggests the brand’s eco-focus is a reflection of its community
And as the business grows, Morrisby has also taken great lengths to ensure it does so with an eco-friendly focus, building a positive sustainability footprint as a matter of significant focus for the brand and its products. This has manifested in packaging for its products, initiatives around recycling within its warehouse and in additional donations made to environmental causes on behalf of the brand.
“From July this year, 50 percent of our 60ml and 100ml bottles will be made from recycled plastic. We are still striving to improve our environmental mission, and by the end of 2023, we expect that all our bottles will be 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic.  Post-consumer recycled plastic is manufactured from used and recycled plastic collected from beaches, oceans, landfill and recycling plants,” Morrisby says.
“Elsewhere, in our warehouses, we invested $7000 in a cardboard perforating machine to recycle all cardboard boxes. Our commitment to the environment even extends to staff members going the extra mile to collect their used cans and bottles to take to a recycling station. Customers who support our businesses can shop with the trust that we are doing everything we possibly can to contribute to environmental recovery.”
Overall, Morrisby predicts that Mask Co will continue to grow, particularly as it prepares to transition its presence as an online business to offering options for consumers to buy its products from shelves in stores.
“As we head into the next phase of our business plan and start rolling out our products on to retail shelves all over Australia, we are expecting our sales figures to continue to soar,” Morrisby offers, “We cannot wait for more Aussies to discover our amazing range of products and we hope that more consumers will soon be experiencing the fun, joy and happiness that we did in creating this truly scent-sational home fragrance range.”
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