Everyone double-checks a combination of things before leaving the house, but the usual phones, keys, and wallets are now joined by face masks and hand sanitizer. The new additions make it impossible to fit everything in your back pocket anymore, but Benjamin Anderson, a Santa Barbara artist for the past 20 years, invented a solution to our overburdened woes.
HandiGuru is a refillable wristband that holds and dispenses liquids like hand sanitizer, sunscreen, bug repellant, and more. The wristbands are made with recyclable silicone and come in gray, blue, and black. The entire product, including the squeeze bottle and applicator tip, is completely BPA-free. As a further feelgood bonus, HandiGuru is matching the first 2,500 wristbands sold by donating that many to Santa Barbara organizations in need, including Girls Inc., which is already benefiting from the goodwill.
Born in Clearwater, Florida, Anderson comes from a family of artists that moved him to Santa Barbara when he was 4 years old. After training in Florence, Italy, and at the Academy of Arts in San Francisco, Anderson returned to Santa Barbara to start his family and pursue a painting career. With the pandemic changing our habits, Anderson wanted to ensure that staying free from germs was easy for his family.
“I needed something that I could take with my family that we could take outside,” said Anderson. “It started as trying to find something to keep my family safe.”
Moving from creating art to inventing a product, he’s spent the past four months learning how to navigate the business world. From product design to finding production facilities, HandiGuru is bringing Anderson into a whole new world. “We want to make sure that it’s quality, so we had to make sure that it was all FDA-approved and hypoallergenic, etc.,” he explained. “That stuff was way out of left field for me.” With distribution moving to South Africa and Australia, HandiGuru has potential to become a product that’s second nature for people who use it.
Most surprising to Anderson? The response from the public and the desire for a product like this. “It’s based on our current situation that people want that kind of easy protection,” he explained. “The response was really gratifying and surprising.”
Every day, the staff of the Santa Barbara Independent works hard to sort out truth from rumor and keep you informed of what’s happening across the entire Santa Barbara community. Now there’s a way to directly enable these efforts. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.