We love to hear from entrepreneurs who invented warming products with a mission. In the case of Refiber Designs founder, Julia Tatiyatrairong, she wanted to help her programmer boyfriend prevent repetitive strain injury (RSI) by keeping his hands warm while working. The fingerless hand warmers she invented resulted in noticeably fewer RSI issues.
Seeing the positive results, Julia saw a potential business opportunity and began prototyping and further testing the concept which is now patent pending. Her mother suffers from Raynaud’s and became a big fan of her daughter’s fingerless glove designs. Julia became interested in how these fingerless hand warmers could benefit the Raynaud’s community and contacted the Raynaud’s Association to explore the idea.
We know many people with Raynaud’s are skeptical about fingerless gloves, as the fingertips are left open to cold temperatures. But think about how a scarf around the back of your neck helps warm your whole body. Covering the arteries in the wrist helps keep the whole hand warmer. True, they aren’t a substitute outdoors for wooly mittens or heated gloves, but indoors when you’re chilled and need dexterity to type, play a musical instrument or just navigate the kitchen, they can offer welcome relief.
What impressed us about Refiber Designs’ product (interesting that they refer to the gloves as “hand warmers”), is the fabric. They are a bit thicker, softer, and warmer than other fingerless gloves we’ve tested (save one that has a pocket for a handwarmer, which is a plus!). They have a fluffy, cushy feel, and you really won’t want to take them off! I first tested them one cool fall morning while performing my daily workout warm-up. After the workout, I wore them again while answering emails in the office. My fingers were still a bit chilled, but when I removed one, I could tell the other hand was warmer, you just aren’t conscious of how the fleece is helping.
Some nice features about the gloves:
- Fleece edging – It provides extra layers of warmth at the top of the palm and against the wrist.
- Short angled edge – The top of the glove is angled to provide full-range finger mobility, including the pinky.
- Wrist slit – The small slit at the wrist gives you extra room to pull the gloves on and off.
- Seamless thumb Hole – No bulk between the thumb and index finger for greater comfort and dexterity.
- Handmade quality made in the USA – Each hand warmer is hand made using fabrics sourced in the USA and are sewn locally by the designer ensuring quality craftmanship.
- Made with sustainability and ethical practices in mind – All fabrics are sustainable, all scraps are recycled, all products are sold and shipped through Etsy. Etsy offsets carbon emissions from all shipments made through their e-commerce platform.
- Machine washable fabrics – For easy maintenance.
A couple of the features above, while designed for comfort and dexterity, may be an issue for Frosties – specifically the angled opening at the top of the glove and the slit at the wrist. While we see the benefits for the average user, those of us with Raynaud’s may prefer more fabric coverage in those areas.
We discussed the issue with the designer, and she recognizes why we might prefer modifications in the design. As each glove is made-to-order, she offered to make adjustments as requested (e.g., increasing finger/palm coverage or removing/shortening the side slit). So if that’s your preference, just ask and she’ll deliver to your specifications! Not many manufacturers can make this kind of custom accommodation. If she finds these adjustments become popular, she’ll add the modified styles to her ongoing offerings.
Special Offer for Raynaud’s Members
Offer Code: RAYNAUDS
The hand warmers come in sizes XS through XL for a good fit, and different styles and designs are available in fleece, polyester or organic cotton. The designs range from colorful trims and floral prints to business-like neutral pinstripes and solids. So many choices, you’ll have trouble deciding!
Prices range from $34.95 to $44.95, keep in mind each glove is handmade, so you’ll expect to pay more than the price of an off-the-shelf, machine-made product. As a proud Sponsor of the Raynaud’s Association Refiber Designs is offering our members a 10% discount. To qualify, simply enter the offer code RAYNAUDS during checkout.
Refiber Designs fingerless gloves offer Frosties a useful solution for indoor activities when dexterity is a must, and for outdoor coverage during transition seasons when full gloves may not be needed.
3400 Wallingford Avenue N.
Seattle, WA 98103