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Smug is born

We're Smug, we help people wear smiles.

Co-founders, Oz and Zeb

On a sunny lock-down afternoon in May, my son Zeb asked me if his birthday was still going to happen because of ‘the virus’ and if he’d ever see his friends from pre-school again. This made me sad. It also made me determined. On 4th of May 2020 Zeb turned 4, and Smug was born.

Ed, parent, founder

Making face-masks fun for everyone

We don’t want little people to be intimidated by the new norm whatever that may be. We want to inspire a generation of makers, creators and tinkerers. We promote the best of British design. We update our face mask range regularly and have just introduced Smug Kids – a collection for little faces.

Image of 6 smug handmade face coverings

Heroing the best of British

Smugs are digitally printed in the UK using non-toxic dyes onto 100% organic cotton. The double layer fabric is steam dried to lock-in the colours and ensure washability, before being cut in Nottingham and stitched by hand in a family-owned factory in Staffordshire. Integrated stainless steel nose-clips and adjustable toggles wing their way from Leicester ensuring the ultimate Smug fit. The nifty little Smug label is woven with love in Pembrokeshire. Did you know it takes 7-years to become a loom apprentice? We didn’t.

Smiles in the community

Smugs are for everyone. For every qualifying Smug order we donate another face covering to a UK foodbank – ensuring the amazing volunteers and staff providing support to those in crisis can do so feeling Smug. Over the past 12 months, the Trussell Trust has issued more than 1.6m emergency food parcels – an increase of 19% on the previous year. Half a million of these were to children. Sadly, demands on their services will only increase. There are more than 1200 foodbanks operating in the UK. We hope to donate at least 12,000 Smugs – help us get there.

Image of 3 food bank staff

Getting the nation back to work

Our all-UK, ethical supply chain provides UK businesses with access to bespoke designed, handmade face coverings to keep the workforce happy. Our in-house design service takes logos and brand assets and turns them into smiles. Fast.

Collective responsibility

We want to be super-clear, a Smug is not PPE. It is intended to reduce potential transmission of airborne droplets which may reduce the spread of germs, bacteria and viruses. We do not believe in over-engineering Smugs through the inclusion of cheap nano-filter inserts, or other marketing hyperbole suggesting face coverings offer a level of protection which they do not. Nor do we want to lure people into a false sense of security and risk altering social distancing behaviours. A Smug is a Smug. It’s intended to help people wear smiles.


These are extremely challenging times for all of us. We salute NHS staff, carers and key workers across all sectors – the transport drivers, the delivery folk, the shop staff who have kept going whilst some us have faltered. Teachers, classroom assistants, nursery staff. Thank you. Smug was born out of a desire to make a bad situation a little more tolerable. We look forward to the day when Smug is no longer needed, and we can all take down the rainbow.

9 thoughts on “Smug is born

  1. FANTASTIC!!!!😍
    I made my first face covering on Sunday as have lots of fab fabric + know I’m gonna need several to wash + wear as they become more + more compulsory, like on the public transport as from this Monday. It’s so fabulous to see something good come out of something so bad. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Becky – keep making and being creative – together we can make face wear fun! #FeelSmug

  2. I spotted an ad for Smug in The Guardian and am so glad that I did. I love what you are doing and am looking forward to receiving my mask. These are indeed strange and – for many – difficult times and I really like the positivity that your site generates. Well done and good luck!

    1. Ah thanks Fiona – we are very Smug you are Smug!

  3. Ordered Monday, arrived Friday. Thank you Betsy 🙂

  4. Love my smug face masks. Ordered 2 as not sure how they would be. Fit perfectly. Waiting to order the children ones when in stock.

  5. I received my Smug yesterday. It’s the best mask to date. I can actually breathe in it. Others I have bought since lockdown began had me panicking after a while. The toggle bands are a great refinement. There is less strain on my ears like there is with plain elastic loops. The metal nose strip has also reduced the fogging on my glasses considerably. You know what? I am going to buy another one.

    1. Ah thanks Paul – that’s great to hear that you are feeling Smug. Remember to roll it, don;t fold it, to preserve the integrity of the nose clip!

  6. Have been very pleased with my previous Smug masks and am ordering a couple more. Hope you continue to trade during this pandemic!

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