It All Began With a Sniffle

The HankyBook was born in 2008 when an Engineering student at the University of California at Berkeley grew tired of the disapproving looks from classmates every time she pulled out her handkerchief.

That was me, Leslie, the founder of HankyBook.

Leslie Uke

I’ve always had a sensitive nose, so in my younger days you would only have to follow the trail of balled up tissues to find me.

Eventually, as I became more interested in sustainability, a became a handkerchief user. There were two main reasons driving this change:

  • The idea of forests being chopped down, only to create a tissue paper that gets thrown away moments after use, seemed beyond wasteful.
  • More selfishly, tissue paper simply didn’t get along with my skin. I tried many different brands and they all made my nose red and agitated to varying degrees – even more so than it usually is!

HankyBook is Born

So, bucking the modern trend, your girl Leslie became the campus “hanky girl” – my nose was happier, but I felt a little judged by the other students, like I had stepped out of a time machine from the 19th century.

On a practical level, there was another issue – there never seemed to be enough space on the hanky material.
I found myself folding the handkerchief, again and again, to get more uses while keeping the germs trapped. As an engineering student, the folding got quite elaborate – in fact, you can see a video of my handkerchief folding method here.

One day, it dawned on me that I could create a product that came “pre-folded” – I started on the design. Creating soft cotton pages that did the job of folds and a cover to keep the ick trapped, so you could pop your “hanky” into your pocket or bag without worry about germ spread.

Suddenly I was getting different kinds of looks from my classmates – curiosity and compliments. I felt I was onto something.

After a successful San Diego Earthfair in 2010, HankyBook was launched so everyone could enjoy and promote reusables for a new generation. Wanting to make HankyBook as stylish as it was practical, in 2013 I raised $12,500 through a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.

Now I could screen print beautiful, woven covers at scale through an efficient production facility in Los Angeles, California. Today, I continue to share my HankyBook and sustainability passions with the world.

HankyBook Kickstarter
Our successful campaign

Learn more about HankyBook’s creation in this short video, starring yours truly!

— Leslie ❤❤

Our Mission

More than just a fun and sanitary way to clean up life’s messes, HankyBook was inspired by a specific goal to steer people towards a non-disposable culture. A culture in which reusables are once again cherished and our environment is given greater consideration.

Therefore, we strive to make our products from genuinely eco-friendly materials using the most sustainable practices. All HankyBooks are made of 100% certified organic cotton. HankyBooks are sewn by hand in Southern California, ensuring that our products do not need to be delivered across large distances and are produced using fair labor practices.

We use organic cotton because cotton is one of the most pesticide- and insecticide-heavy crops in the world. In growing organic cotton, no synthetic chemicals or fertilizers are used, improving the health of the environment as well as the people working in the fields.

You can save a lot of trees, water, and energy by buying a HankyBook instead of disposable paper tissues. If every household in the United States replaced just one box of virgin fiber facial tissues (175 sheets) with 100% recycled ones (or a reusable alternative like HankyBooks), we could save 163,000 trees. (Source :

We hope you will join us on our mission!

And please check out my newest endeavour, Go-Go-Eco, where I share the best tips and products to make your home eco-friendly and zero waste.