India entered the first phase of “Unlock” this month after a two-month lockdown to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. As offices, malls, restaurants, airlines, and more open up, social distancing will remain all-important and the demand for PPE gear like masks, face shields, and more will increase.
Startups across the world are upping the innovation game to help people stay safe and fight COVID-19. Gurugram-based manufacturing enterprise Crea Worldwide is one of them.
The bag and accessory manufacturer has temporarily mutated its product offering, and is now producing PPE gear to help the public and frontline workers take the fight to the pandemic.
Founded in 2015 by Upkar S Sharma, Crea Worldwide has been involved in designing and manufacturing bags and accessories for brands across industries such as cosmetics, apparel, fashion, sporting, health & fitness, and alcohol-beverages. Crea also makes tactical gear such as bulletproof vests, hit bags, vibration bags etc for the Indian special forces.
Speaking to YourStory, Upkar sys, “When the coronavirus pandemic led to a lockdown and forced us to shut down our regular business, we wondered if we could help frontline workers as the country was short of PPE gear.”
The company’s website says it all: “Bags can wait” as “[we] are now fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by making improvised PPE for healthcare heroes in India”.
Providing PPE solutions
When Crea Worldwide was figuring out how to manufacture PPE gear, it realised that most protective equipment was made to suit the western climate.
Doctors and healthcare workers, who needed to wear the PPE gear and work in high temperatures, were finding it uncomfortable, Upkar says.
The company then began manufacturing masks, face shields, and hazmat coveralls that suited the Indian climate for healthcare and industrial workers.
“We immediately created samples and sent our products to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) labs for testing. We have been working with private hospitals to deploy our PPE gear after getting clearance,” Upkar adds.
According to Upkar, the company has developed 12 different kinds of PPE coveralls with different fabric configurations to suit the needs of healthcare and industrial workers.
Business and more
Speaking about the business model, Upkar says while the newly developed N-95 masks are awaiting certification clearance for N-95 guidelines, the PPE coveralls are available at ecommerce sites such as Amazon and Flipkart.
The PPE coveralls are priced between Rs 699 and Rs 999 while the face shield is available for Rs 199.
“Some hospitals are buying from us directly and we are also getting government tenders,” Upkar says.
Upkar says Crea Worldwide has provided PPE gear to the Cygnus Hospital chain, Faith Hospital (Chandigarh), and Apollo Hospital (Delhi). Apart from this, it has also provided PPE equipment to doctors who have their own practice.
Speaking about future plans, Upkar says the company aims to launch a separate portal to help doctors and healthcare professionals purchase PPE gear in case they run out of hospital-supplied equipment. The 258-member team is also planning to expand to retail this year.
The founder says his company has always been bootstrapped as it faced difficulties raising funds.
“Most venture capitalists like to bet on tech companies and Crea Worldwide, being a product development and research company, has found the going tough. But we will profit if a like-minded investor supports us in our growth journey,” Upkar says.
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