Masks on with the Mondmaskerfabriek • Friends for Brands • Brand Activation

Masks on with the Mondmaskerfabriek

Two weeks ago, on a Saturday the director of the Refugee Company, Fleur Bakker called us. She told us that, together with her partners, she plans to build a surgical mask production facility from scratch right here in the Netherlands. Starting mid-April they want to produce a 100.000 masks a day. Can we help develop a brand and communication strategy? Of course we can!

Made in Holland by refugees

Amidst this crisis there’s a huge shortage of medical supplies in our country. In order to be independent from manufacturers on the other side of the globe, social entrepreneurs Fleur Bakker, Jaap Stelwagen, Naz Kawan en Johan Blom started a speedy process of setting up a production facility in Arnhem: the Mondmaskerfabriek. The workshop will be manned by refugees making masks of the highest standard.

150.000 surgical masks a day

Starting mid-April, Fleur aims to produce 150.000 masks a day. As soon as the huge shortage of masks came to light, she and her partners sprung into action. By flying in a specialized machine from China to Arnhem, they’re the first to locally produce three-layer surgical masks.

Three-layer surgical masks

The type of mask the mouth mask factory produces the three-layered ones. A quick production of these masks ensures that the FFP2 and FFP3 type masks, that offer full protection, remain available to medical staff that is in contact with the Corona virus as well as their patients. The three-layer type offers an 80% protection rate. By combining the three layer type with the FFP2 and FFP3 masks, they offer adequate protection in hospitals.

Support from the Phillips Foundation and Qredits

The facility gained great support. For instance, the Phillips Foundation granted them a loan of €100.000. On top of that they pre-ordered one million masks. These masks are designated for engineers that perform maintenance on the breathing support equipment. The masks will also be used in mobile hospitals all through the Netherlands. Lender Qredits supports the startup of the facility with a social credit of €250.000,-. Commercial director of Qredits, André Dolsma said: “We proudly support this social enterprise in Arnhem during this time when we need this surgical masks the most. The initiative not only helps the medical staff, it also creates jobs for refugees. It cuts both ways. Therefore it’s a perfect example of what our social credit is meant for.”

Location Arnhem at job opportunity agency Scalabor

The mouth mask factory collaborates with Scalabor in their Arnhem facility. The expertise and experience of Scalabor concerning logistics, production and storage, enables the mouth mask factory to have a flying start. Alderman of Arnhem Cathelijne Bouwkamp: “It’s great that Arnhem houses a facility that produces surgical masks. It is of great importance that people who work in healthcare and their support can do their job with proper protection. Through the great relationship this municipality has with the Refugee Company, we could take action with haste and get this done. It’s fantastic that our fellow citizens with a refugee background help out during this crisis.”

Surgical masks for everyone

Refugee Company believes that people stranded in camps at the borders of Europe, the homeless and other vulnerable demographics deserve protection from this virus as well. One of the objectives of the mouth mask factory is to designate half of their production for important missions like Doctors without borders. These organisations have great difficulty as well finding proper medical supplies.

A Friends Foundation collaboration

Friends for Brands takes on the entire communication aspect. Because it is a pro bono assignment, we approach it as a project of The Friends Foundation and enlisted the help of Kevin Verbeek and Femke Akkerman. Matching the pace of arranging the production facility, we developed a brand, website and communication strategy in merely a week. The execution is a collaboration with partners from The Friends Foundation, De Wolven agency and the Refugee Company team. If you feel like contributing to this fantastic project too, please send an email to

For more info and to pre order surgical masks visit