We spoke with Leslie Uke, the creator of HankyBook. Made from 100% organic cotton, with the sweetest designs, these are definitely not your grandma’s handkerchiefs. Here are her thoughts on why reusable nose blowers aren’t as gross as we think, how to avoid a rough ‘red nose’ when you’re sick, and how you can get your own HankyBook for free.
People think reusable nose blowers are gross. Convince us in less than 100 words why they’re not.
People who think reusable nose blowers are “gross” simply don’t understand how a handkerchief works. Their judgment comes from believing that snot is getting all over the place including the user’s bag or pocket and hands and from there, everything the user touches becomes contaminated. This just simply isn’t true. They never touch their snot or even look at it! When kept in a tight pocket the reusable does not become unfolded. Detergent and conventional washing machines take care of the scary bugs and deliver a 100% fresh start! (A couple squirts of Berryplus laundry soap always keep our Hanky’s fresh!)
What kind of ecological footprint can blowing your nose have?
Huge! Just 1 box of virgin fiber tissues for every family in the U.S. requires the destruction of 163,000 trees! That is just for one box per family. (*Jaws dropping)
Will my nose notice a difference between regular tissues and your Hanky’s?
Yes! Many people choose to use a reusable solely because their noses tell them to! The pulp fibers in tissues can be extremely abrasive and cause what I call “red nose,” particularly when you are sick or have allergies (ouch!). Our HankyBook is made out of soft organic knit cotton. The type of fabric that is used in baby shirts that make you wonder why only babies get to be wrapped in such luxury.
We think it’s amazing that you are willing to give away free HankyBook’s just to convince people to read the book Plan B 4.0. Tell us more.
Prior to reading this book, I would hear sound bite after sound bite, fact after fact, from organizations trying to wake the public up, and wake me up, about the declining state of the earth’s ecosystems, and the insecurity we all face because of it. These cries about the state of the world were helpful in making me moderate my behavior to a degree, but hearing one thing after another was just making me feel so scattered and defeated.
Plan B goes through the biggest problems facing us, chapter by chapter, and clearly conveys the magnitude of each problem, describes how so many stress areas are interconnected, and also informs us of the solutions that exist to combat each trouble area. Now I am able to put new information into context in the bigger picture. After reading this book and increasing your understanding of today’s issues, you will understand why I am willing to give away a free HankyBook if it will encourage one other person to gain this perspective. (Amazing! Simply let Leslie know your thoughts on the book, how it made you feel, and what you’re going to change for your own free HankyBook!)
Your Hanky’s are in a book. What’s the story behind that?
I invented the book-form-handkerchief in college when I was in a student group called Berkeley Innovation. I’ve always had a leaky faucet but it was this group that made me recognize it as a problem to be solved. After that, it was second nature to find the solution.
I was already a user of the traditional square handkerchief when I invented the HankyBook. I first transitioned from disposable tissues because they irritated my nose, and I became more and more unsettled with the frequency of my visits to the trash can (so wasteful!). The HankyBook was a response to evolve the traditional handkerchief into a more user-friendly and portable form.
The book-form gives you easy access to many clean surfaces. The HankyBook has a protective cover that always keeps your bag, pocket and hands clean with no second thought. I’m not going to lie. I was insecure using a handkerchief because of the discomfort OTHERS felt about it! I love handkerchiefs but I love the HankyBook even more because it has added utility and also because I sidestep the unfortunate negative stigma that surrounds the traditional handkerchief.
You run your business with your husband. What’s the best and worst thing about working with him?
Best thing: Everything
Worst thing: Nothing! (Hmm, smart move)