Startup doesn’t mask desire to grow

Thought Olivian continues to focus its business on selling masks to large companies, the startup has recently launched a subscription model aimed at small businesses and families. (Courtesy Olivian)

After launching in the early days of the pandemic to supply millions of masks to big companies, a Chesterfield-based startup has added a new line of business aimed at helping individual consumers and small businesses mask up.

Olivian is rolling out a monthly subscription mask service out of its facility at 820 Southlake Blvd.

The joint venture between Olivian and Blackbriar Regulatory Services, a sister company of locally-based e-cigarette brand Avail, offers two monthly packages: a 50-mask shipment for $20 a month and a 500-mask shipment for $150 a month. The smaller package is geared toward families, while the larger one is intended for small businesses and community organizations.

Olivian founder and Managing Director Wendy Scelia said the move hinges on the expectation that customers will be attracted to a convenient option to acquire masks. Olivian counts companies such as Campbell Soup Co., Sysco and Northrop Grumman as clients. It declined to share exactly how many clients it has.

Olivian is producing 20 million masks a month as of late August. The company plans to eventually ramp up production to 40 million masks monthly.

“We were able to really help during this time of uncertainty by bringing a sense of peace of mind that masks will just show up,” she said.

The masks aren’t N95 masks, but are considered medical-grade that can be worn alone or over an N95 as an additional protective layer.

Olivian has three employees in addition to 50 contract manufacturer workers. It expects to hire 100 more.

The company produces masks with a combination of foreign and domestic materials, and currently does some production overseas. The eventual goal is to have an entirely domestic supply chain and production. The company plans to open a new plant in Houston in the future.

The company’s local efforts take place in 11,500 square feet of Avail Vapor’s 38,000-square-foot facility on Southlake Boulevard. Olivian and Blackbriar have a revenue sharing agreement for the venture, details of which weren’t disclosed.

Blackbriar contributes the facility and employees that make the masks according to Olivian’s specifications. Olivian purchased the equipment.

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