Dawn Miefert describes herself as a germ-aphobic/germ-aholic. In other words, she doesn’t like germs, but she also obsesses on them. Her interest in germs gave her the idea for an invention she hopes could be a moneymaker. The invention is PhitGrip, an anti-microbial grip that fits onto free weights. Here’s how she got the idea.“My gym partner and I were working out next to this guy who was noticeably sick,” she says. The guy sneezed into his hands and then went to pick up weights.“The hair on the back of my neck stood up,” says Miefert, who lives in Forest Hills.Workout gloves don’t protect from germs, and besides, they can make your hands sweat, which causes calluses. And gym rats can’t stop between every station to wash their hands. There had to be a solution. It took three years and many prototypes to get right. But Miefert finally came up with a formula that works. PhitGrip is made from liquefied rubber injected with oxygen, so it’s full of tiny bubbles, is thin, and has a suede-like feel. The paint in the logo contains anti-microbial material to keep germs at bay, so users are supposed to rub their hands together periodically to spread the germ-fighting stuff around. Miefert has been using the product for two years, and she swears she hasn’t had a cold since. Users have found the grips are beneficial for more than just weights. People use them on grocery carts, treadmill rails and public transportation handrails. One client bought a pair for his mother’s walker, Miefert says. Miefert owns an advertising agency called Merge Media Group, and she’s using a viral marketing approach for PhitGrip. She employs social media and brand ambassadors to spread the word. PhitGrips retail for $9.99, and so far, Meifert is selling about 20 pairs a day on her website, phitgrip.com. For every pair of PhitGrips sold until the end of the year, the company is donating $1 to the Trevor Project, which focuses on crisis and suicide prevention among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.
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