- November 22, 2020
- Posted by: Stratford Team
- Category: Markets
- Gym-goers are seeking extra protection as they try to return to normal life amid the pandemic.
- KleenWraps says it has a solution to this problem: Microbial wraps that can be used on dumbbells, bar weights, and other gym equipment to prevent surface transmission of COVID-19.
- The wraps are waterproof, have silicon grips, and can also be used for shopping carts, subway poles, and railings in communal buildings like senior homes.
- KleenWraps has also launched a facemask with designer Chris Gelinas aimed at performance athletes, and is considering developing microbial seat covers and yoga mats in the future.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Like so many areas of commerce, gyms have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. After being forced to shut during lockdowns, they are now trying to encourage safety-conscious patrons to maintain their memberships.
Although many Americans have turned to fitness during the pandemic as a way to stay both healthy and entertained, causing sales to boom for the likes of Peloton, Lululemon, and Strava, gym-goers are seeking extra protection. Some feel that mask mandates and distancing guidelines might still not be enough to protect them. One company thinks it has come up with a solution to this uncertainty: KleenWraps.
The brand’s patented microbial wraps can be used on dumbbells, bar weights, and other gym equipment to prevent surface transmission of COVID-19 and other germs.
The wraps are made from waterproof neoprene and medical grade iHeir-333 antimicrobial technology. They have velcro to attach them, and silicon dots for grip.
The design means that users only have to touch the outside of the wrap. The inside of the wrap is the only part that touches shared surfaces, meaning the germs stay on the inside.
Despite the current need for their products, KleenWraps wasn’t actually set up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mother and son team Elizabeth Silver and Russell Silver-Fagan produced their first batch of the product in 2018. The pair shared an elliptical, but this would become sweaty after each use. Silver-Fagan tried using a beer koozie at first, before they decided to develop their own solution for the problem – a waterproof wrap that could be used for non-open-ended products like dumbbells, too.
Demand wasn’t huge at first, the pair told Business Insider. Gyms didn’t like the idea of the product as it would make them look unclean.
But some individual gym-goers liked the product: Though visitors have to clean down exercise machines, such as treadmills, after use, very few cleaned the barbells and dumbbells.
During the pandemic, sales for the product have rocketed as people increasingly take personal responsibility for their hygiene in communal settings like gyms. The wraps are ideal for use there, because they also repel sweat and are quick drying.
But the wraps aren’t just for use in gyms, Silver and Silver-Fagan explained. People have been using them in everyday situations, such as on shopping carts, bike handlebars, and subway poles, and senior homes in Florida have also ordered the wraps to use on communal surfaces like railings.
And because of their versatility, the directors aren’t worried about sales tanking during state lockdowns, which have risen over the course of November as COVID-19 cases across the US continue to rise. Even if gyms shut, people will still need the protection for other shared surfaces, they explained.
The duo are predominantly selling the wraps directly to consumers via their website, although gyms in New York, Oregon, and California have placed orders. There has been interest from potential distributors and third-party sellers, the directors explained to Business Insider, but the brand wants to maintain control and oversight of the product for the time being.
Similar products have popped up over the pandemic, Silver and Silver-Fagan explained, but KleenWraps isn’t worried about any potential competition. The product is protected by a patent, they explained, and already has a loyal customer base.
Some companies have launched antimicrobial gloves, but these aren’t as hygienic, the pair said. Many people will transfer germs between different communal surfaces while wearing the gloves, they explained, and may also spread them to their phones.
The brand launched a facemask with designer Chris Gelinas
As the pandemic strengthened demand for personal protective equipment, the duo noticed a gap in the market. Most brands offering stylish face masks were lifestyle or fashion brands, they found. KleenWraps wanted to launch an alternative that would balance comfort, style, and safety.
The company spent almost four months developing the masks with product and apparel designer Chris Gelinas, who has previously worked with Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, and Lady Gaga.
Though Silver and Silver-Fagan had performance athletes in mind, they were quick to add that masks are designed for everyday use, and described it as “the most comfortable mask on the market.”
The masks are aligned vertically, not horizontally, meaning they are less likely to fall off the wearer’s nose. They also have a fitted nose guard, which stops glasses from fogging up. The masks are also quick drying and have a two-way stretch which makes them breathable, and the antimicrobial covering is guaranteed for the masks’ lifetime.
Like the wraps, KleenWraps has seen huge demand for its mask too, in part due to a partnership with Crunch Fitness. The first pre-orders for the masks sold out within a week.
The brand currently offers masks and wraps, but it plans to diversify to larger products in the future. When states start to open up again, people will return to more communal activities, such as public transport and exercise classes. KleenWraps plans on exploring options like microbial seat covers for traveling and yoga mats, Silver and Silver-Fagan explained, as people continue to embrace the new normal.