"they are more fun and personal and truly show who you are."
An elderly couple from Leicester launched a lockdown business selling personalised face masks.
Semi-retired photographers Rekha Mashru and her husband Maz Mashru have started selling masks with the wearer’s own face printed on them.
The couple, who are in their seventies and from Belgrave, have called the venture ‘My Own Face Mask’. They are selling the masks for £12 each, or £40 for four.
Each mask features an image of your nose, mouth and chin.
The couple print the masks themselves. They decided to launch the business from their home to stay busy during the lockdown, which was extended in the city due to a spike in cases.
Rekha explained: “My husband is in the vulnerable category, he can’t even leave home.
“Photography kept us occupied and we just want to get back to work.
“So we thought of something new to do, and we have worked really hard to start something.
“We will all have to wear face masks for a while and while ‘My Own Face Mask’ performs the function of a normal mask, they are more fun and personal and truly show who you are.
“It’s something new to pass time whilst we can’t work and it will help us to continue to contribute to the cancer charities we raise money for.”
Prior to the pandemic, Rekha and Maz were semi-retired photographers, who originally launched their own photography business in 1972.
Originally from Uganda, Maz built a local reputation doing wedding, portrait and family photography and even taking pictures of UK Prime Ministers and overseas heads of state.
However, in 2016, Maz was diagnosed with stomach cancer which, on top of being a diabetic and a heart patient, meant his photography career looked to be over.
But he recovered and started to work part-time again until the pandemic hit.
During the lockdown, their daughter Rita challenged them to find a hobby.
Instead of gardening or cooking, the elderly couple wanted to address something that they hated about the pandemic and that was face masks hiding people’s personalities.
Rita said that they saw a gap in the market and came up with the unique masks. They have launched an online site which has only just gone live.
“My Own Face Mask was born out of a passion to show that faces matter. Something they had spent a lifetime doing.”
“In fact, you could have different masks to suit your mood.
“They have now launched their masks on a shopify website.
“They hope that people will buy masks to show their true personalities or mood everywhere they go.”
Her dad Maz said: “We hope that people will help us create a new normal for us.
“Staying busy keeps us well and we feel we are doing something valuable.”