March 2020 was a seismic experience for business owner Julia Brufke Wenger. As a business owner with 20 employees and a parent of four children she found herself in the middle of a pandemic with no defenses to protect her colleagues, clients, and family as they were out and about in the community. She describes it like being at war with no weapons! She set out to design and provide tools to keep them safe.
As a seasoned entrepreneur, author, and award-winning businesswoman, Julia Brufke Wenger was no stranger to taking on and launching new ideas. Her first idea was to design the KnobMate. While working in an older building, Julia feared potential germs on doorknobs throughout her office and realized there was no product on the market that would turn a doorknob, so she invented the KnobMate. It is pliable and easy to hold, compact and efficient. As Julia said, “you could open a door and be out of a burning building in seconds!” While she was designing the KnobMate, she added a sturdy hook for bar doors and handles and a bumper for touching things like elevator buttons and keypads. You can even exchange coins in the knob gripping cup!
Julia realized there was still a problem when other objects needed to be gripped or exchanged. The HandMate solved that. Never again will she or her family have to travel and grip a subway pole or tram car pole without protection. In addition, the HandMate can be used to turn off light switches, hold a phone and can even hold salt and pepper shakers at a restaurant. And when it comes to navigating a public restroom it is the perfect hands-free solution to manipulating all the objects you don’t want to touch.
The SafeSpaceMate is also near and dear to Julia’s heart. Six feet is really far, and people do not realize this! Her collapsible spacer makes sure people are safely distanced and, in a way, has brought them closer because they can be together safely.
Julia quickly garnered recognition and praise for her outstanding design concepts for the KnobMate and HandMate. These exclusive accessories were honored in the Accessories Council Design Excellence Awards2020.
Julia resides in Valley Forge, Pa and continues her mission to protect her family and employees while sharing these great products with the public. We have learned a great lesson about health and safety and these accessories will continue to protect students, travelers, elderly, employees, and the general public for years to come.