A Clever New Invention Protects Lungs & Sinuses From Dust & Allergens
From horse massagers to anti-sting ointment, Mike Fultz has been inventing things for a while now. So, when his friend Carl Davis told him about a rudimentary system he’d created to breathe easier while mowing grass, he was intrigued. Mike tinkered with the contraption then sent the modified product to his friend John Brown, a design engineer, for a final look.
The device, known as Clean Breeze, includes a face shield and helmet that are attached to a motor that blows fresh air into the mask through a HEPA filter. Clean Breeze runs on a small battery that stays charged for four hours. The entire unit weighs about four pounds, and the battery pack can be clipped to a belt for mobility while blowing, weed eating, mowing or doing other tasks.
“It keeps out the dust, pollen and allergens so you can breathe fresh air,” says Mike. “We’re not saving lives, but we’re saving sinuses and breathing issues.”
"I knew if I could solve a problem for one, I could solve for tens of thousands"
Mike had a winning design, so his next step was finding a way to mass-produce it. “We spent well over a year running all over the country talking to production companies, but we were priced out,” he says. “We just couldn’t afford to outsource. I personally believe in not going into debt or borrowing a lot of money to start a business. I believe in working your way up.”
Then, he had a brainstorm. If John had made the prototype with a 3D printer, they could just buy their own equipment. Today, they have more than a dozen 3D printers making parts for 75 units each day. They hope to make 10,000 units this year.
“It’s amazing watching the printers run,” Mike says. “You come back hours later, and you have a magic part laying there.”
Once he figured out the manufacturing, Mike needed a marketing strategy. One day while having lunch, a solution fell into his lap.
“I was at a restaurant and saw two familiar faces,” recalls Mike. “There were Mark Ramsey and Digger Manes, the infamous moonshiners from the Discovery Channel show.”
Mike introduced himself and told them about his product. Mark and Digger were immediately interested. Even when they’re not making liquor in the backwoods of Tennessee, Mark and Digger spend a lot of time outdoors but both suffer from allergies. Mark worked in lawn care for 19 years, and Digger spends time at his farm bush hogging.
“I told Mike if the product did what he said it would do, I would endorse it,” says Mark. “A lot of people enjoy yard work but have a hard time doing it. And everyone has had enough experience with masks to tell you that wearing them sucks. But this product helps you breathe. It has a good filter and that makes a world of difference.”
For one sales pitch at Kubota, they stirred up the gravel parking lot then demonstrated walking through the dust cloud while wearing the device.
“For any dust-related jobs or dealing with any particulates, it’s a real salvation,” says Digger. “And it has a cooling effect. It provides an evaporating A/C for your noggin.”
Mark and Digger say they love helping a hometown business and fellow entrepreneur.
“One of the reasons we decided to do our ‘Moonshiners’ show in the first place is that it would be something positive for our county and city,” says Digger. “We are extremely proud of the fact that Mike has brought this production facility to Newport.”
What started as a business relationship is now a friendship, and they even spend holidays together. “If you have one stick, you can break it with no problem, but when you tie a bunch together to create a bundle, you can’t do it. Our team is like a bundle of sticks,” says Mike. “I’ve been very fortunate to have the right team around me.”
In addition to talented people, Mike says that starting a business and bringing a new product to market takes a tremendous amount of work and patience.
“There are always reasons to quit, but I don’t quit,” says Mike. “You can find 1,000 ways something won’t work, but you just need to find one way to make it work. Then be the best at that one thing.”
"I tested the Clean Breeze system last spring & was very impressed with the product. The area I was mowing was very dusty & I had fresh, clean air for the entire two hours that I mowed. I could see clearly & had no issues with the mask. I would have forgotten that I was wearing the Clean Breeze, except for the very slight sound from the motor. It’s a well-built product that is very useful for anyone with breathing issues, or those who just prefer to keep dust & debris away from their face. I definitely recommend the Clean Breeze!"
-Wes Hubbard, Bad Boy Mowers
"I own and operate a commercial lawn care company. I have major allergies and take Claritin & Flonase. I would still come home stuffed up until I came across The Clean Breeze Collection System. I have had my system for 2 years and have not been stuffed up at the end of the day ever since using it. I highly recommend this system."
-Mr. CB Lawn Care
The Clean Breeze is available online and in select stores. Units start at $299 and ship out within 24 to 48 hours of ordering. TheCleanBreezeCollection.com