“Launching a product requires 3x more investment than you’d imagine: there’s so many steps and processes to validate to build a product, that unless you have an industry partner who is knowledgeable about manufacturing, there’s a high chance you’ll invest 3 times more money than what you originally calculated.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Lisbona, Founder and CEO of Touchland. Andrea is a passionate entrepreneur disrupting a critical yet antiquated industry- personal hygiene.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was raised in an entrepreneurial family, so I have always understood what it’s like to live in uncertainty, while breaking the molds and taking risks. I have always been more interested in creating something and leaving a lasting legacy, rather than following the typical corporate career path.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
One of the more interesting experiences we went through was transitioning from a small startup- struggling to manufacture big volumes- to signing a deal to launch our first innovative product line with a top leading multinational manufacturer. This organization, also decided to back the growth potential of Touchland by not only providing highly-scalable, exclusive manufacturing and logistics services, but also placing a 7-figure cash investment during the company’s founding stages. It definitely helped us to find a strategic partner that was able to sustain our growth.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of the first mistakes (not so sure if we could call it funny) was underestimating our sales potential and then struggle to manufacture and deliver. We had huge demand! But unfortunately could not meet such demand with our initial orders. We learned that the manufacturing world is tough, that you need to be surrounded by experts, and it takes years to comprehend all the procedures to manufacture a product in mass scale.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Touchland has set out to revolutionize the industry of hand sanitizers. We are committed to upgrade personal hand hygiene habits and promote healthy environments, by providing a beautifully designed, smart and cost-efficient solution for both consumers and enterprises alike. Our goal is to redefine the way people conceive hand hygiene and turn this habit into something stylish, convenient and pleasing.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
To hope for the best but expect the worst, especially in the first months! Plan well and monitor your spending based on business stability and growth. Otherwise, achieve line of site on investor capital infusion for the projected burn you’ll experience in your first 12–18 months.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Yes, my husband. He joined Touchland at the very early stage and he has always believed in me and shared my vision to change the whole industry. Every entrepreneur has a bad day and it’s always great to have someone around that gets you in track and reminds you why you started. He is Touchlands biggest fan and my biggest supporter. Not just through good times, but mostly in tough times.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
We have just begun, but yes! I do feel we, as entrepreneurs and visionaries, can change the world. Hand hygiene is key to avoid falling sick, but it becomes life-changing in developing countries. This is why I founded Touchlives, our social campaign where we dedicate 5% of our profits to deliver touchlines hand sanitizing solution in much-needed developing areas that suffer from water scarcity and deaths related to infectious diseases that transmit by touch. Every day 1,400 kids die in developing countries due to infectious diseases that are transmitted by touch. Thus, our goal is to return to the community by assisting said developing nations with access to hand hygiene solutions. To date, we have completed 2 projects in Gambia through an NGO, by providing the solutions and education in order to turn hand hygiene into something fun.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Don’t let success get to your head. Don’t let failure get to your heart.”. The reason is that life is cyclic, and especially as an entrepreneur, one day you are killing it and the next day you can be out of the market. So you can never lower your guard.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
· Launching a product requires 3x more investment than you’d imagine: there’s so many steps and processes to validate to build a product, that unless you have an industry partner who is knowledgeable about manufacturing, there’s a high chance you’ll invest 3 times more money than what you originally calculated.
· Innovation takes time: it’s not only about getting a working prototype. That’s the tip of the iceberg. Then starts all the manufacturing processes, quality validations and compliance. What a fun adventure!
· Persevere again and again: entrepreneurship is about taking the hits until you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
· Trust your gut: I have been lucky to only do business with partners I trust. If you have a bad feeling, probably you’ll end up regretting the partnership. So, trust your intuition.
· Dream big, but act: it’s not only about dreaming, it’s about turning that dream into a reality. That’s what really makes the difference.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I want to continue growing our social campaign Touchlives, to promote the simplest way to take care of your health and provide sanitizing solutions to places where hand hygiene is key for survival.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can find us on instagram at @touchland and myself at @andrealisbona