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How IAMRUNBOX’s RunMask is a case study in Skåne collaboration

Case study grow globally

Almost every business in the world has had to adapt in one way or another to the Coronavirus pandemic, generally not for the better. Yet, there are still opportunities for companies to connect with consumers and, with Invest in Skåne’s help, they can even create new partnerships. 

That’s what happened when Kirill Noskov, founder and CEO of IAMRUNBOX, realized the sports fashion brand known for its running and cycle backpacks could create a profitable product with a positive impact.

“We wanted to respond somehow as a company to the whole situation globally,” Noskov recalls. “We could do something different and actually help our customers from around the world...and that's how this idea came about.”

A face mask for runners, designed & produced in Skåne

For many, wearing something to cover their nose and mouth to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus has become the new normal. So Noskov and his team came up with a face mask for runners that they named the RunMask.

“In many countries, people can only get out either for a jog or groceries, and they need to have protection because masks are mandatory,” says Noskov. “So basically we thought: What can we do to help out? Because the traditional face masks are not so nice if you want to take it for a jog.”

The active essentials kit
The RunMask is part of the company’s Active Essentials Kit on Kickstarter. The Kickstarter campaign was an immediate success and reached well beyond its fundraising goal.

But designing the RunMask was the first step. Next was setting up manufacturing, which is never easy, let alone during a worldwide pandemic. Thankfully, IAMRUNBOX was connected, by Invest in Skåne, to Malmö Industries, a locally-based garment and textile product manufacturer.

“We’ve always been on the lookout for companies that want to manufacture and that have the same values as us,” says Ernesto Prosperi, CEO at Malmö Industries. “We immediately started to have ideas and synchronized very well.”

“We’re already collecting pre-orders on our website, and the manufacturing process is basically running as we speak,” says Noskov. “So, we’ll start shipping those masks at the beginning of June.”

Kirill Noskov, CEO, Iamrunbox

“We really want to deliver good quality and be 100% sure about the product...that’s why we decided to set up production in Skåne. We can control and then fast track the whole development process, doing it locally and sourcing it locally" says Kirill Noskov, founder and CEO of IAMRUNBOX

The switch to local production is also the latest development in IAMRUNBOX’s relationship with the Skåne region. The two have become more entwined since the company moved their headquarters back to the area from Stockholm.

“We did a bit back and forth,” Noskov explains. “We first started in Lund. Then when we started really growing the company in 2018, I moved to Stockholm.” But the capital city wasn’t a good fit, and Noskov says he and most of the company returned to Lund.

Noskov claims Skåne feels more in line with the brand and its connection to active lifestyles. He also cites the convenience for international travel and a skilled talent pool as part of the region’s appeal, as well as support for local businesses and startups, like via Invest in Skåne. “I think that kind of infrastructure is quite helpful and useful,” he says. 

In fact, according to Business Development Manager Andrea Kviecinska, Invest in Skåne isn’t finished helping. “I am currently working to introduce IAMRUNBOX to two markets, Japan and South Korea,” she says. 

How Invest in Skåne helped IAMRUNBOX

IAMRUNBOX’s relationship with Invest in Skåne began in 2016. The company was part of Business of Design Week in Hong Kong, which Invest in Skåne helped organize and where the company represented Sweden with other Skåne-based brands. “We were exhibiting all together in Hong Kong, which was an extremely nice and interesting experience,” says Kirill Noskov, founder and CEO of IAMRUNBOX.

When the company came up with its RunMask concept in response to the Coronavirus pandemic and needed a locally-based production partner, Invest in Skåne connected them with garment and textile product manufacturer Malmö Industries.

“They referred them to us which led to us working together,” says Malmö Industries’s CEO, Ernesto Prosperi. “So now both companies have a big possible platform to build something. I would say from a networking perspective, Invest in Skåne’s been a good contact.