We first met Max Wiseberg, creator of hayfever balm, HayMax, in 2014. JLife’s Laura Sefton caught up with him to find out what he’s been up to since and how to best tackle the current hayfever season.
What is HayMax?
HayMax is an organic, drug-free allergen barrier balm for people who are allergic to pollen, dust and pet allergens.
How does it work?
Just a tiny amount wiped on the bottom of the nostrils and around the bones of the eyes traps the allergen before it can enter.
When did it first launch?
I set up HayMax in 2004, having suffered with hayfever all my life. I was the kid who went into the exam hall with two rolls of toilet roll because one wouldn’t get me through the exam!
Where can we buy HayMax?
Boots, Waitrose, Holland and Barrett and Morrisons all stock HayMax, plus independent pharmacies and health food stores in the UK.
We last met you in 2014. What has happened since then?
Lots! 2015 was a particularly brilliant year for us. We celebrated a decade of HayMax and in March 2015 it was one of the 10 lucky SMEs announced to have won a coveted place on The Guardian’s trade mission to Atlanta.
HayMax was one of the 170 businesses who originally applied, and went on to be selected from a shortlist of 19, after spending an intensive day in front of the judges at The Guardian offices.
Where are you currently based?
I now live in Bedfordshire and work from my home in Ampthill, however I grew in North Manchester, attended the Holy Law shul and was a very keen member of Habonim. I went to Manchester Grammar School and then on to university in Birmingham.
We have just launched HayMax in Spain and in America, so I hope to expand HayMax with these and other export markets.
As someone who grew up in Manchester, what would you say makes the city special?
The memories of my formative years: cycling around Heaton Park with my pals, attending Habonim in Upper Park Road every week, revising for exams in Central Library (which was really all about meeting girls for coffee in the café downstairs).
Do you still have ties to Manchester’s Jewish community?
Absolutely! My brother still lives and works there, many old friends are living in the city, and my wife’s family are from Manchester, too.
Max advises on how to banish the summer sniffles:
- Washing your face as soon as you get indoors on high pollen count days will clear away allergens so that they can’t cause a reaction. Also, showering at night before sleeping will remove pollen particles and cool compress will soothe sore eyes.
- Wash bedding regularly to remove allergens. Anti-allergy bedding made from ‘intelligent fibres’ can be very helpful. Also, vacuuming, especially beds and fabrics, will remove pollen, dust and pet allergen particles.
- Tie your hair up and wear a hat when outside to prevent pollen being caught in your hair and wear wraparound sunglasses when outdoors to prevent it coming in contact with your eyes.
- Dry clothes indoors rather than on a clothes line.
- If you are doing an outdoor activity, be sure to do it in the morning or evening when the pollen count is lower.
- Close windows and use an air conditioner preferably with a High Efficiency Particle Arresting (HEPA) filter to capture the pollen and dust particles and cool and circulate the air.