Andrea Lisbona, founder and CEO of Touchland.
If there was ever a time to spotlight Andrea Lisbona, Women’s History Month during the time of coronavirus is it.
When Lisbona launched Touchland in 2019, she never could have guessed that hand sanitizer would soon become the most sought-after product in the world.
Personally, I travel everywhere with the Touchland Power Mist, and I always have one in my purse, my car, my carry-on. Not only is it effective but it’s slim, flat, it comes in beautiful colors and scents and it moisturizes while it sanitizes. It’s a real conversation piece, and I’m constantly getting asked about it whenever I pull it out for a spritz. In fact, you’ve never seen a hand sanitizer brand with such a cool Instagram account.
When the coronavirus hit and hand sanitizer began disappearing from store shelves, I reached out to Lisbona to see how she was doing and how her business was being impacted. She may have one of the few growth stories during this challenging time.
Here’s what she had to say:
Touchland is as good-looking as it is effective.
What made you decide to create a hand sanitizer in the first place?
Hand sanitizers play a key role in staying healthy on the go, but this commoditized industry hadn’t seen advancements in innovation for 20 years, only offering harsh, sticky formulas with a strong alcohol fragrance, leaving skin dry. We wanted to disrupt that and create a solution to makes people’s lives happier and healthier.
Tell us about your background and what you were doing before.
I was born in Barcelona and I’ve studied both business administration and fashion design. When I was 24 years old, I began distributing hand sanitizer solutions from various brands to better understand the market. I learned the problems and the opportunities so I could ultimately improve everything from the inside.
Where did the name, Touchland, come from?
The hand sanitizer industry is cemented in eliminating germs and instilling fear. We wanted to disrupt this way of thinking and build a solution that, instead, empowers people to live their lives to the fullest. That’s how Touchland was born; we wanted to inspire people to “touch more” and feel great while sanitizing their hands. We wanted a name to express our mission.
Why did you think there was room in the category for another hand sanitizer?
The category was antiquated, offering harsh formulas that dry your skin, are very sticky and smell strongly of alcohol. There was room for a brand to build solutions to not only meet the functional needs of a sanitizing product, but to also take care of the skin.
What makes Touchland different?
From its design to ingredients, its brand-to-consumer communication to the experience itself – we have tailored a product that differs from competitors, disrupting every angle possible.
How did you come up with the design – which is beautiful, by the way?
Thank you! I studied design and have always been interested in learning how brands create solutions which are appealing to the eye and are truly memorable. We used design parameters such as the Golden Ratio to create solutions that are convenient yet beautiful. Other brands, like Apple, also use the Golden Ratio when designing products.
How do you come up with your scents?
Our amazing social media community plays a key role here. We are heavily engaged with them and there’s no better source of information than our own audience. We want to listen to what our consumer wants and often ask what they want to see from us. Whether it’s for our scents, new products or even new partnerships, we are inspired and moved by our audience.
Watermelon is a popular Touchland scent.
How many different scents do you have now and how many more are you planning to introduce?
We currently carry eight fragrances but are working with top perfume manufacturers and will be launching an elevated collection of scents very soon! We are confident people will love our upcoming offerings.
Which scent is the most popular?
Honestly, it changes all the time. Some days we can’t keep our lavender fragrance on the shelves and others Watermelon has its best-selling moment. It definitely depends on the season.
Are your products sold in stores as well as online?
Yes, we are available online as well as at all 1200 ULTA locations and select Urban Outfitters, Bloomingdales and Aerie shops.
What’s been the most challenging part of starting your own business?
Keeping up with consumer demand. We launched a year ago, but the rate of demand, partnering with a large, multinational retailer and the overall speed of the business has us consistently fixated on increasing our rate of production.
What’s been the most challenging part of starting it in this particular category?
The skepticism behind making hand sanitizer cool. It took time for people to buy into the idea that this category that could be dramatically improved. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize the opportunity in elevating everyday products. It just takes the right company who wants to make it happen.
Andrea Lisbona, founder and CEO of Touchland.
You just introduced a dispenser. Tell us a little about it – and the thinking behind it. Is it meant just for businesses or can consumers use it at home as well?
Our dispenser is geared towards both businesses and for at-home use. We started with a product meant for on-the-go scenarios and wanted to also offer a solution to create healthy environments. It’s a water-conscious approach to keeping your hands clean. I personally have one in my kitchen and I use it before cooking.
What other products will you be launching?
We have many innovations coming down the pipeline – all straddling the lines between skincare and hygiene with better design, a mission-driven approach and innovative solutions.
Okay, this would have been a very different interview about a month ago! How has coronavirus changed your business?
As a business we, of course, prepare ourselves for consistent growth, wanting to meet the demand of our consumers. But we are now experiencing a sales trajectory of 800 percent and are selling an average of 10,000 Power Mist units or more a day!
How has it changed the way you personally see your business and its impact?
I look at things through a long-term lens so this hasn’t changed the way I see Touchland. But it’s an opportunity to communicate and educate people during a time when they are willing to listen. Consumers are recognizing the increased importance of personal hygiene and sanitizing their hands.
What’s the most effective way for them to use your products?
Definitely when they’re on the go – especially when touching public surfaces. It is multi-surface friendly, which is a real plus. People use Touchland everywhere: on their phones, tables, everywhere!
Do you think the hand sanitizer market will stay strong once people get used to using it on a regular basis?
I don’t believe all brands will continue to gain momentum. Many brands have popped up during this outbreak as a means to make fast money. We launched a year ago and haven’t changed our messaging to reflect the current panic about what’s going on. People who buy Touchland are buying a brand, a lifestyle and a way of seeing life. We are not just a hand sanitizer, and that’s why I think we have created the strong and engaged community we have.
I know giving back is important to you, and consumers are really looking to support companies that do good these days. Can you talk about your charitable initiatives and how you chose them?
We value the platform we have access to in making a difference, and we take this opportunity seriously. We participate in various relief initiatives, providing supplies during outbreaks and natural disasters. Our Touchlives campaign focuses on sending our waterless solutions to developing areas where hygiene is crucial to survive.