GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Due to Michigan's coronavirus quarantine storefronts all over Michigan are now temporarily closed.
One of those stores is "Oh, Hello Co." in Downtown Grand Rapids. When the store owners, creators, and YouTube stars Alex and Kayla Benda were told to close their non-essential store front, they set to work creating something essential.
In their YouTube VLOG, "Oh, Hello Living," Kayla Benda explains; "We’re trying out best to create something that can help people protect their ears from the prolonged wear of wearing masks. It’s something you don’t really think about you’re like okay they have a mask, great. But if you wear a mask for like 12 hours, you already start like feeling the effects. People are getting blisters, their ears are getting really sore. I for one, want my medical staff to be as comfortable and as focused as possible through all of this."
Kayla's counterpart Alex says he came up with this ear saver design Wednesday after a brainstorming phone call with his mom.
"So my mom is just like me, if you have a problem, we're just gonna sit there until we can figure it out," explains Alex.
"And all of a sudden, like I said, it was like 8:30 at night. I'm like, 'I've got it!' And she's like, 'No, I've got an idea.' I'm like, 'No, I've got it.' I hung up immediately designed them sent her pictures of it, and had a made within like 10 minutes of the idea."
The tiny plastic pieces are attached by a hair tie, and they stretch behind your head.
"So you can put the mask on these little hooks, and you can get bigger hair ties or smaller hair ties depending on what you need," explains Kayla.
These ear savers are wallet savers as well. By that I mean, they're completely free!
They're tested by nurses, and Alex says they're unique because, "It sits On the back of the head, it can stretch as needed. Two or three of us together, and we can make about 10,000 a day."
The power couple is taking shifts, staying up all night to get these out to the public.
"No one else has done this version, and it's so efficient! That is what I'm trying to do. The world of makers need to see this because all the feedback has been crazy good."
So good, they want to share. This ear saver file is free online so if you have a laser cutter you can now make these at home.
If you're interested in ordering one for yourself, or thousands for a hospital, Alex says; "The cool thing is we're doing this worldwide. So it's $3 shipping in the U.S. and $12 shipping anywhere in the world. You will get as many as you need, wherever they're needed."
Alex and Kayla Benda are funding this whole project out of pocket.
An ear saver only takes ¢20 to make. If you'd like to donate any amount, click here.
To shop ear savers, click here.