Companies which in ‘normal’ times make everything from high-end notebooks to filing products have in the past weeks shown their ability to create something entirely new, at lightening speed, to help fight Covid-19.
Several companies have come up with different ways to produce face visors for frontline NHS workers. For example office products firm Durable has developed a face visor from its existing products and materials. Once they made filing products, now they’re manufacturing PPE.
UK startup Batch.works set up a fundraiser at the start of April to produce 3D-printed visors from their East London studio, and on April 21 hit their target of £15,000.
Batch.works founder Julien Vaissieres said they are now in full production of their Batch.shields, increasing output as they go, thanks to a growing team of volunteers. Vaissieres said its delivery partner Pedal Me is picking up batches of finished shields twice a week and delivering them by bike to the Royal London Hospital down the road in Whitechapel.
Printer Windles have turned their greetings card factory into a visor production plant. Windles sales director Andrea Norcott told Greetings Today: “We recently had a job finishing printed, foiled acetate sleeves for a prestigious perfumier brand, and I thought we could look at adapting the process for the much-needed face visors that workers on the front line are crying out for.”
The Windles’ sales team then went about designing, sourcing materials, engineering and registering the medical visor with the NHS. Norcott continued: “I’m so proud of my team and what we’ve achieved. We now have a product that will benefit our front-line people in the NHS as well as those in the many care homes who have gone without PPE and across so many sectors where staff are in public-facing roles. Orders are already coming in from hospitals, NHS personnel, care homes, the prison service, supermarkets, and pharmacies.”
High-end Australian stationery brand Karst Stone Paper has swapped making its vegan leather and recycled stone notebooks and woodless pencils for hand sanitiser. CEO Jon Tse said it took the company three days to create the 70% alcohol sanitiser, and within a week had sold more than 15,000 units.
Beyond the stationery industry, several large high-street retailers are re-thinking their operations to help fight the pandemic. Dunelm has recently announced it is retooling its curtain factory in Leicester to make medical gowns for the NHS, though not from curtain material!
John Lewis has reopened its Herbert Parkinson’ textiles factory in Lancashire to make around 8,000 washable clinical gowns for the Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust. John Lewis is also donating 20,000 metres of cotton fabric from its haberdashery departments and distribution centres to make around 6,000 scrubs for the NHS.
In this time of crisis it is heartening to see so many companies in the stationery industry step up to help, to innovate and to do good. And while we can only hope their contribution in fighting this virus won’t be needed for much longer, let’s hope their can-do, caring attitude will endure.