June 17, 2017
It’s every parent’s nightmare to see their child in any kind of pain, or even discomfort--and it’s worse when it seems like there’s nothing they can do about it. When this became reality for Ronald Ro, he could have given in to hopelessness and defeat--instead, he created a company.
Ron and His Daughter
In 2010, Ron’s daughter was born with eczema--a condition without a straightforward cure. After months of research and trying seemingly endless strategies, Ron could not find a clear solution to comfort his child. It’s a heartbreak that Ron shares with millions of other parents--a feeling of utter frustration and helplessness as they watch their children suffer from pain and discomfort.
Ron recalls being often told by pediatricians that the air quality in his home could be a source of the problem--but this seemed like an ambiguous, overwhelming issue to tackle:
“‘Just make sure you have healthy air, we would be told. When I asked what [the pediatrician] meant by that, they would always say ‘it’s complicated’--that was always the answer. ‘It’s complicated.’”
While Ron was continuing the battle against his daughter’s eczema, he began talking with his close friend, Kevin Cho, whose children were in and out of the hospital for asthma. The two began to wonder if it was possible that the “complicated” concept of healthy air was more conquerable than it appeared.
As Ron and Kevin began investigating the different ways they could determine whether or not indoor air was healthy, Ron used his engineering background to create prototypes that were tested in his daughter’s room.
With the help of the various sensors in the first-ever Awair, Ron quickly saw the issues with his daughter’s air--in his case, he had been creating an overly humid environment with round-the-clock humidifiers. He remembers the overwhelming relief and satisfaction of noticing improvements in his daughter’s health as he tracked her air and made adjustments.
Tracking his baby’s air quality became integrated in Ron’s lifestyle; he would bring a crude prototype wherever he went with his daughter, and would often be asked by other parents about the device--“they were very interested because their kids were also suffering from allergies and similar conditions.”
This level of interest inspired Ron and Kevin to create fifty of their custom air quality monitors by hand, which sold out very quickly. Since then, Awair has blossomed into a company that is committed to helping everyone, everywhere overcome the ambiguity of “healthy air” and take control of their health.
Dr. Shilpi Agarwal is a board-certified Family Medicine and Integrative and Holistic Medicine physician--but at home she’s a dedicated mom with a hands-on approach to her children’s health. Shilpi’s youngest son struggles with high levels of congestion and seasonal allergies, which affect his ability to get a full night’s rest. Shilpi wanted to have a complete understanding of what was causing her one-year-old’s congestion, but finding the source of her child’s discomfort could easily become a frustrating loop of guesswork.
As the second installment of our Awair Design Spotlight, we interviewed our San Francisco-based Principle Designer, Maher Sinjary, to learn more about his unique design journey and the methodology behind Awair's visual identity.
This spring we’ve been exploring how our allergies are affected by the air we breathe. Allergies are a common scapegoat this time of year--they’re usually at the center of blame for our congestion and scratchy throats. But how much do we really know about allergies, in the first place?