Rafi Nova is a company started by two people who had the vision to sell accessories for traveling. Unfortunately, the company was launched just weeks before the Coronavirus pandemic hit and the sudden decrease in travel negatively impacted their business.
After coming together to decide what they should do moving forward, they decided to make the best of a bad situation when one of the founder's children said to make masks.
They decided to take making masks one step further and accommodate a community in need during this new normal of mask-wearing. Now, Rafi Nova makes masks with a clear panel in the front so that people who are deaf and hard of hearing can see people's mouths underneath their masks.
Along with the making of clear masks, Rafi Nova has a work environment that is unmatched by any other.
Their company is like a family and the work community present at Rafi Nova made the transition from their normal products to masks that much easier.
Founders Adam and Marissa Goldstein had some great ideas thus far in their career as business owners and in addition to sharing information on the smile mask, shared some information and tips on how to become a successful business owner.
I had the absolute privilege of interviewing the founders about their new masks and their business practices and here is what they said:
1. How was the company name decided upon and created?
Rafi Nova was inspired by our travels with our two sets of children - Raya, Efi, Noa, and Eyva. We want to build a company that reflects our values and there is nothing that reflects that more clearly than your children.
2. How was the shift from regular products to masks?
We launched Rafi Nova as an accessories brand with the mission to inspire parents to get out and go in February 2020 — which was probably the worst time in history to launch a brand encouraging travel.
Just a few weeks after the launch, the coronavirus pandemic struck, and we needed to reevaluate our plan for the brand. We spent some time brainstorming solutions, until one day our daughter Evya said "make masks."
3. How are the masks constructed to benefit the deaf and hard of hearing communities?
We make the Smile Masks with a wide clear panel that allows the mask wearer's mouth to be visible.
We also made sure that the masks had adjustable straps to accommodate hearing aids or cochlear implants.
While the Smile Mask was designed with the hard of hearing and deaf community in mind, we have seen that the masks are beneficial to a wide variety of communities and professions. Facial expressions are essential in establishing trust.
4. What is your greatest takeaway from shifting your company's focus to benefit the consumer need amidst a pandemic?
Create well made, thoughtful products that people need!
5. What is your favorite part about running a business?
Being able to build an amazing team and getting to work with them everyday!
6. What kind of work environment do you have at your company? Is everyone friends outside the office?
Yes! We have a super fun, very open and collaborative atmosphere. At the same time, everyone is extremely hard working and gets their work done.
7. What is the best piece of advice to give to anyone who wants to start their own company?
Just do it! The timing will never be perfect. If you wait until everything is "perfect" you will miss out on the opportunity. Start small -- but just start!
With business advice like this, Rafi Nova is clearly an up and coming company with founders that have a sense of community.
The ability for them to flip the switch from travel accessories to masks is a pretty admirable feat and one that should definitely be recognized.
Their products are, in a way, one of a kind as there isn't anything on the market right now quite like the smile mask.
The smile mask comes in a two-pack that retails for $30, accommodates for cochlear implants and hearing aids, and enables people to continue using non-verbal communication.
There is also sales and deals for certain products as they make regular masks, kids masks, and anti-fog masks in addition to the smile mask with the clear panel.
Rafi Nova is doing a great thing for all sorts of people that will benefit from being able to regain the use of non-verbal communication like teachers, speech pathologists, and those that are deaf and hard of hearing.
Check out the press release for the smile mask here: