We speak to Shaun and Keane Veran, the founder of OURAGAMI, or OURA for short, to find out more about the brothers and their business.
Having launched the OURA High-Tech Active and Air Masks locally, and in Singapore, through OURA Asia we find out more about what sets the OURA face masks apart from other conventional face masks before getting to know the founders a bit more.
Offering unparalleled safety and protection to users, OURA’s Active Mask is the ultimate companion for daily workouts whilst the Air Mask 2.0 provides ultra-breathability for day-to-day use.
Combining advanced technology and detailed craftsmanship, the self-sterilising and deodorising mask is made from ultra-lightweight fabric that is designed to pull sweat and moisture away from the face. Thus making it ideal for those who live an active lifestyle, the masks are built to deliver comfort, maximum protection and extreme breathability even during high-intensity activities.
OURA’s masks are constructed from three layers of tightly woven, medical-grade fabric permanently embedded with antimicrobial silver oxide and titanium dioxide. Most masks use antimicrobial coatings which wash off after just a few uses. Instead of these coatings, OURA infuses the compounds directly into every fibre so they kill pathogens, inactivate viral particles, break down odours, and, most importantly, sterilise the mask even after being washed over and over again.
Both the Active Mask and Air Mask 2.0 come with a replaceable, NIOSH-approved N95 filter for an even more powerful safeguard against pathogens. These masks have been independently tested by third-party laboratories and verified to filter ≥ 99.9 percent of bacteria, viruses, and 0.1 µm particles. They’re also made with skin-friendly hypoallergenic fabrics to eliminate any potential ‘maskne‘ issues.
Available in different sizes suitable for all face shapes, the Active Mask (priced at RM230 with N95 filter) and Air Mask (priced at RM195 with N95 filter) come with an adjustable nose clip for a personalised seal as well as a travel pouch, making it convenient for travel use and easy storage. The Active Mask also comes bundled with OURA’s Active Tape, a pack of 30 double-sided medical-grade strips, to secure the mask for increased filtration.
The faces behind the mask
Although based in Los Angeles, California, co-founders Keane and Shaun were Malaysian-born. OURA was created based on Keanne’s personal experience. Keanne was diagnosed with leukaemia at 10 years old. Then in 2011, Keanne had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of meeting President Obama through Make-A-Wish which is what inspired him to create OURA. Together with his brother, Shaun, they want to help other patients find hope and empower their recovery experience – and aim to grant wishes to patients out there through the foundation.
We get to know more about them below:
1. How did the idea to establish OURA come about?
Keane: The idea for OURA started with my cancer diagnosis. While undergoing chemotherapy, I started losing my hair so I started wearing hats to cover up. I had a compromised immune system which meant I was much more susceptible to all kinds of infections which really made our entire family reanalyse the way we think about germs. We quickly realised that hats were the perfect incubators for bacteria, especially when you don’t wash them every couple of days.
It was this realisation of how easily microbes can grow on your everyday items (like hats) that led to the start of OURA. We played around with the idea of creating products that would help you to live a cleaner, safer life by infusing technology into your wardrobe. Once I was declared a cancer survivor in 2017, It felt like the perfect opportunity to run with this idea and fully commit ourselves to running a business.
2. As the older brother, when did you realise that you would want to partner with your younger brother to start up a business together?
Shaun: It was actually while Keane was undergoing his cancer treatment that we realised there was a problem with the items that people use on a daily basis. So, while we were still kids, we dreamed about how we could maybe one day solve this problem. It’s crazy to think that we were actually able to turn it into a reality!
3. Tell us more about your background in relation to OURA’s products and the brand story behind it?
Shaun: OURA is a scientific company at heart. Everything that we do is informed by science and everything that we make is rigorously tested with the scientific method. In starting OURA, Keane and I knew that this was central to the brand. As we have developed new products over time, the science and testing behind it has always been constant.
4. What differentiates your product offering compared to others that have hit the markets?
Keane: The main differentiators of our products fall on two different factors – our technology and laboratory testing.
All our products use a proprietary antimicrobial technology that dramatically improves its durability. Rather than using antimicrobial coatings that chip off after a few washes, our technology is permanently embedded within every thread so it lasts much longer.
Everything that we make undergoes rigorous testing and validation through various independent laboratories to ensure our products will provide the ultimate protection. Our masks are tested for filtration efficiency, viral filtration, bacterial filtration, and antimicrobial efficiency.
5. What has OURA’s progress and milestones been like since you started?
Shaun: We never imagined our company growing to the caliber it is at today. When we first started with our very first product, Identity, our first goal was to generate enough money to expand our product offerings to have 3 different hats.
As our company slowly grew in size, we started to get more aggressive and introduce new product lines throughout the years; manufacturing aprons, an entire skincare line, and now masks followed by international expansion stores opening up.
6. What are some of the future plans in store for OURA?
Keane: We have some really exciting products we will be introducing within the coming months. We can’t say too much about it right now but we’re very excited to launch them!
For more info, visit the brand’s website.