This 19-year-old son of textile salesman LAUNCHES PPE COMPANY during crisis
Posted April 23, 2020
By Devin Steele (DSteele@eTextileCommunications.com)
As most students around the country have been sent home to study online during the COVID-19 pandemic, many may have been overcome by boredom and restlessness without human interaction with their classmates and friends.
But not Hart Bridges, son of Stacey Bridges, sales manager at Carolina Cotton Works (CCW), Gaffney, S.C.
A freshman enrolled at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., the younger Bridges, well, began “building bridges” to help address the massive shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). He LAUNCHED A COMPANY, Rosleck Safety, to make face masks for healthcare works on the frontlines and for the general public.
Founding a company certainly is an ambitious endeavor by anyone, indeed borne out of boredom and, no doubt, an entrepreneurial spirit unseen in most 19 year olds.
“Back in my hometown (Gaffney, S.C.), there wasn’t much to do other than watch the news and keep seeing the number of cases rise,” Hart Bridges said. “To make it worse, my summer job had shut down for the foreseeable future. I saw that there was an extreme shortage of safety masks and a huge inflation of prices. So I decided to take some money I had saved up and import some KN95 masks and market them at a more attainable price. My Dad thought I was throwing money away – that was until I sold all my inventory in one day.”
After that, dad quickly jumped on board, he said, and decided to help him grow his business. Stacey Bridges put him in touch with a couple of companies that were making a superior American-made masks, the son said. And soon, Rosleck Safety had a few U.S.-made masks on its website that were manufactured by Contempora Fabrics, Indera Mills and Creative Fabrics Services.
Quickly, online and in-person sales began to grow, he soon began to realize he had created a solution in many ways, but another issue was becoming clearer, he said.
“I saw something in the market that was out of my reach,” Hart Bridges said. “There are frontline people fighting the virus without masks and people that cannot afford even the most attainable of safety masks. I don’t make enough money to give them out for free.”
To address this, he started a GoFundMe page for anyone who wanted to support his goal of providing these masks for those heroes in scrubs.
“I know that with enough donations and sponsors, I can help those who need it the most right now and bring Americans back to work at the same time,” he said. “Just with one my Dad’s LinkedIn posts, I was able to raise enough money to make my first donation to a nursing facility in Pennsylvania last week!”
Already, Rosleck Safety has various types of masks available on its website, including, K95 respirator masks, nonwoven masks and cotton antimicrobial masks.
So, to all of you in ANY generation: How did you spend YOUR COVID-19 isolation?