Three North County moms introduce decorative hand sanitizer covers

Sanbox was started by three North County moms.

With the COVID-19 pandemic surging and causing more restrictive public health measures, three North County moms created a product that adds a decorative touch to hand sanitizer dispensers.

They launched a business, Sanbox, that sells wooden covers that each have designs, short sayings or other adornments and fit over typically bland-looking dispensers. The company also offers custom options.

One of the company’s founders, Sarah Longwell, said the product is an improvement to the dispensers, which can be an “eyesore” in homes or businesses.

“We thought, wouldn’t it be great to have a sanitizer dispenser in your home so it’s easily accessible?” said Longwell, who lives in Solana Beach. “You could come in from running your errands or whatever and sanitize easily.”

She added that they wanted to “keep it fun and less industrial” to improve the look of the standard dispenser, many of which are plain white with a logo on the front.

“We’re really passionate about staying healthy and safe,” Longwell said. “When you start welcoming people back into your house, it’s kind of an awkward thing to have a sanitizer at your door like businesses are doing. It’s just a way to take the intimidation out of it and just keep everyone a little safer, a little healthier.”

The idea for a business grew from the positive feedback she and her cofounders, including her sister, started getting when they created their first few iterations and began using them.

“It kind of just organically started,” said Em Doyle, one of the other Sanbox founders, who lives in Del Mar. “People were asking us if we’re on Etsy, if we’re on Amazon. We had to get it together pretty quickly and give it a go.”

The packages they sell come with a hand-sanitizing dispenser and materials needed for installation. Some of the company’s goals include looking into other types of materials and introducing the product to schools, many of which have been trying to balance in-person and distance learning over the past several months.

“We’re looking at different materials, looking at different special edition type ones,” Doyle said. “We do have a lot of things in the pipeline.”

They’re also looking to the upcoming holiday season as an opportunity to promote the new product and grow their customer base, especially as more people are bracing for the surge in COVID-19 infections and taking steps to protect themselves and their families.

For more information, visit or @shopsanbox on Instagram.