Mayes has created Sniffle Buddies for adults as well as product large enough to go over a ski glove to avoid cold weather drips. (Photo courtesy Sniffle Buddies)
Sniffle Buddies teach nasal awareness
Some inventions like the bidet and ear wax remover may be great products, but are brought up with a giggle or not discussed at all in public because they deal with taboo bodily functions. Such is the case with a new product called Sniffle Buddies.
According to the product’s inventor, J. Kelly Mayes, people have a tendency to rub their faces all the time without even realizing what they are doing. Kids in particular succumb to this mindless habit.
“I read somewhere that adults touch their faces 18 times per hour and kids, 80 times per hour,” Mayes explained. Much of this touching has to do with the nose and the dribble coming out of it. Kids and adults that have a little drip of snot may end up wiping this dribble on their hands or sleeves because they don’t realize what they are doing or they don’t want to take time to grab a tissue.
Mayes’ “a-ha” moment came when she realized her son had severe allergies, which caused him to rub his eyes and wipe his nose constantly.
“He would be on a public swing and then rub his eyes,” she explained. “At age two he had croup and ended up in ICU, which is when I realized he had allergies.”
But how do you get a little kid to stop playing, pick up a tissue to wipe his nose, throw the tissue away and then go wash his hands? Mayes’ first tissue training alternative was a cut up tube sock that she wrapped around her son’s wrist and got him to use, but it wasn’t handy, so she worked her way up to Sniffle Buddies, a convenient tool for tissue training. The cloth band made of bamboo goes around your wrist and fastens with Velcro so that when you have the urge to wipe your nose on your sleeve it hits the Sniffle Buddy instead.
The trick, however, is talking about snot in a way that won’t drive potential customers away.
“Some people have commented that Sniffle Buddies encourage wiping your nose on your sleeve, but the arm wiping happens anyway, Sniffle Buddies just make you aware of it,” Mayes said. Case in point, often as people are telling Mayes what a horrible idea her product is they are rubbing their faces.
“But pointing it out freaks people out,” Mayes said.
Those who can get beyond the grossness factor, however, find Sniffle Buddies extremely useful and Mayes is steadily growing her business and has recently begun working on getting her product into the ski industry. An avid skier herself, Mayes often finds herself in need of something to wipe her nose on when she is skiing in the cold weather. So she made a version that fits over coat sleeves and gloves.
While she doesn’t recommend the use of Sniffle Buddies during heavy, wet storms because they can’t dry out fast enough, Mayes said they are perfect for days that are below freezing but sunny, which occur quite frequently in Mammoth.
Sniffle Buddies are soft, more absorbent than cotton, and antibacterial. Plus, without Mayes even realizing it until a friend pointed it out, the product is eco-friendly. As part of the tissue training, kids waste less paper. Instead of using a whole box of tissues for a little nose drip, they can use Sniffle Buddies for the minor stuff and then use a tissue for heavier blows. Plus, bamboo is a much more sustainable product than cotton.
“Sniffle Buddies are definitely not meant to replace tissues,” Mayes explained, “and they shouldn’t be used when someone is really sick.”
In a pinch you can blow your nose into your Sniffle Buddy, but Mayes doesn’t recommend wearing it afterward.
“It can absorb a blow, but then you are wearing it around with a blob of snot or boogers on it,” she said. Mayes recommends folding it up like a hanky in your pocket if you must blow your nose into it until you have a chance to wash it.
“The intended wipe is the clear drip,” she clarified.
The product is still a work in progress, according to Mayes who already has at least one major addition on her mind: creating a men’s line.
“My husband and his friends have informed me that they can’t wear something that is called a Sniffle Buddy and is fluffy,” Mayes explained. The product is fluffy so that it can dry out more quickly. “I need to put a skull on it and call it something rude like ‘I’m a man snot band’ so that men can wear them,” she added. Until then she suggests men turn the Sniffle Buddy over and wear it inside out to avoid the fluffiness.
What else are Sniffle Buddies good for? It seems they are a perfect fit for many special needs kids with small drooling issues. In fact, AblePlay.org, a website that researches play products for children with special needs, just recognized Sniffle Buddies as a great find because of the its effectiveness in this area.
Lastly, Sniffle Buddies can also be used as sweatbands during any workout.
In the end Mayes is not about converting people to use her product. “If it’s not your thing, I totally understand. If you need it, you know it.”
J. Kelly Mayes is the mother of 5-year-old Tate, her test model for Sniffle Buddies. She started skiing at age 35 when she met her husband, Mark Harper, a structural engineer who already owned a condo in Mammoth. The two were married at Tamarack, and Mayes later heard Mark tell a friend that if she hadn’t taken to skiing, the relationship would have never worked out. The family resides in La Crescenta, Calif. but skis in Mammoth about three weekends out of every month during the winter. Mayes is a graduate of University of Kentucky with a B.S. in Biology who freelances in the TV Commercial Industry.
You can find Sniffle Buddies locally in Mammoth at all the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area Main Lodge, Canyon Lodge, Eagle Lodge and McCoy Sports retail shops, plus Ski Surgeon and Footloose Sports. You can also purchase the product online at www.snifflebuddies.com.