We started Cheekies to solve a problem for ourselves as the pandemic spread across the U.S.—we couldn't find an everyday mask that we actually loved wearing.
Medical PPE was off-limits for healthcare workers.
Instagram ads left us feeling ripped off with cheap and poorly made products.
Amazon offered either basic cloth coverings, or something that looked more fitting for Burning Man rather than a routine trip to the grocery store.
Etsy had plenty of cute handmade options, but stylistically didn't give us confidence.
Bandanas weren't very protective.
And while we loved seeing all the DIY tutorials on how to fashion a face mask out of a t-shirt, arts and crafts weren't our specialty.
We knew others felt the same, but to help us validate this and focus our efforts, we created a simple survey to better understand people's attitudes towards masking. In total we received 350 responses, and summarized our top 4 takeaways below. You can view a more detailed summary of the full survey results here.
1. There's a cultural shift happening around masking
Attitudes and expectations around mask wearing are changing. In many Asian countries, such as South Korea and China, masking is already universal and part of the cultural norm.
We see evidence of a similar shift happening amongst our respondents when asked about their masking behavior pre-pandemic, and expectations after the pandemic:
Less than 1% wore a face mask daily/weekly
82% almost never wore a face mask
13% expect to wear a face mask daily/weekly30% expect to almost never wear a face mask
30% expect to almost never wear a face mask
2. Wearing a face mask is an act of selflessness
What's the #1 reason why respondents wear face masks? To protect others.
This gives us all the warm fuzzy feels, but also demonstrates that the public health campaigns educating the general population on masking are effective.
3. The stigma around masking has reversed
Prior to the pandemic, if you wore a face mask in public you would likely get some awkward glares and side eyes. But now, the stigma has reversed—24% wear a face mask because they feel guilty for not wearing one.
Can you imagine feeling guilty for NOT wearing a face mask in a pre-pandemic world? This further illustrates the cultural shift that's happening around masking in the US.
4. We need a better face mask that doesn't suck
The top 3 most common face masks, and their relative satisfaction scores from 1 (I hate it) to 10 (I love it):
1) Disposable medical-grade surgical mask = 25% (avg satisfaction of 5.4 / 10)
2) Homemade & DIY = 23% (avg sat of 5.3 / 10)
3) Washable mask (no filter) = 21% (avg sat of 5.5 / 10)
What do you think? Do you agree there's a cultural shift around masking? A few years from now, when you're preparing for your flight home for Thanksgiving, do you see yourself reaching for a face mask along with your neck pillow?
We'd love to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts - you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.