Newsletter of the Rotary Club of Needham for Tuesday November 17th, 2020
Our Speaker on November 17th: Marissa Goldstein (left two photos below) Co-founder of Rafi Nova
Marissa spoke to us about the company, Rafi Nova, that she co-founded with her husband, Adam. The name is a contraction and amalgamation of the names of their four children: Raya, Efi, Noya and Eyva. Marissa grew up in Needham and met Adam in high school. Avid travelers, Adam and Marissa fell in love with Vietnam, and now their family divides its time between Vietnam and Boston. In Vietnam, they noticed the beautiful textile art of the Hmong people, embroidery in geometric patterns that vary by tribe and region. Setting out to make a backpack for families traveling with children with room for diapers, clothes and a laptop, they designed a bag embellished with brilliant swatches of Hmong embroidery (see photos above). The factory is in Vietnam and final assembly and distribution are here.
They had just launched the company in February when COVID 19 locked down the economy. With a shortage of personal protective equipment, they turned to making face masks in March to give to front line workers. To solve the problem of deaf people unable to lip-read a covered face, they came up with the transparent "smile" mask shown above. But, it turned out to be much more popular than that limited use would suggest. People asked if they could buy them, and Marissa put it up on their website. They've sold two million masks so far and donated another half million. They took over her parents' three car garage, then added an 800 sf tent in the driveway. They have 35 local employees handling the fulfillment of 500 to 1000 orders per day. In addition to the website:, there's also a Rafi Nova store at 29 Needham Street by National Lumber. Marissa has offered a 20% discount to Rotarians purchasing Rafi Nova products, use the code: ROTARY20.
Upcoming Speakers:
  • No meeting on Tuesday November 24th, Happy Thanksgiving!