The managing director of a Levin E-liquid company is turning vape juice into hand sanitiser because his mother, a mental health nurse for the elderly, saw a growing need for it.
Max Fudakowski and his business partner Cahn McKenzie invested their life savings to start a contract manufacturing business, Lion Labs, for the vape industry.
But as Covid-19 spread, the entrepreneurs aged 29 and 30 were staggered at the soaring demand for soap and sanitisers so they created their own from cleaning materials.
"We disapproved of the subsequent price gouging by people scalping these products on Trade Me. Max's mum is a nurse and asked if we would make it," McKenzie said.
Two years ago the pair renovated a textile factory and produced high-quality vape juice.
Their mission was to "wage the war" against Big tobacco for the health of smokers and former smokers.
"We are contract manufacturers that do chemical processing in our factory with the main focus on E-liquid," said McKenzie.
"It was becoming tough for us pre-virus- due to the government regulations of the vape industry-creating uncertainty for our clients -so making hand sanitiser was a godsend."
They already had most of the ingredients except for ethanol and Isopropyl but luckily Fonterra came to their rescue.
Their hand sanitiser Betty's- inspired by a character in one of their favourite movies Kung Pow- has been flying out the door since early March.
"Betty San is an 'in house 'joke of ours. She is an evil villain in the movie that inspired us to combat evil," Fudakowski said.
"We spent a few days researching how to make a product similar to the sanitiser you can buy at the supermarkets and that's when we discovered the World Health Organisation's recommended hand rub formulas on the internet.
"We had all the raw ingredients in our operation for cleaning already so when we saw the ridiculous prices we thought we could produce this at a more reasonable price."
Their test batch was made last month and after using it themselves and using friends and families as guinea pigs- Betty's was launched.
Their products are available online for consumers, dairies, pharmacies and government departments.
While Lion Labs has experienced a slight dip in vape sales recently the sanitiser has been a lifesaver for the entrepreneurs.
"We haven't needed to apply for a government subsidy, while the other side of our business suffers," Fudakowski said.
"That's why we're offering this product at an affordable price and it's easy to carry in your pocket or handbag."
The business partners are hoping they'll get a call from "Kung Pow's director, Steve Oedekerk for some Betty's to "conquer all the evil germs."
"Even though Betty is an evil character in the movie, we believe spreading the virus is bad and wrong- so if we can try and prevent that it's a good thing."