Houston Businesswomen Create Glam Hand Sanitizers and Surface Cleaners for the COVID Era
This Dynamic Duo Knows That Touch Matters TooBY Shelby Hodge // 11.09.20
Entrepreneurs Molly Voorhees and Christine Milligan are launching Cobalt, their FDA-approved surface cleaner and hand sanitizer, this week with six pleasantly scented products ideal for on the go use.
The Cobalt Germ Out Keychain perfect for backpacks and easy access.
Cobalt Hand Sanitizers in Blue Glass Bottles (Photo courtesy of Cobalt)
Cobalt Touch & Go Kit includes full size hand sanitizer, powerful surface cleaner and two micro-fiber towels in a durable grab bag (available December 2020). (Photo courtesy of Cobalt)
As most of us would agree, other than someone coughing or sneezing in our faces during the time of COVID-19, pumping our own gas is one of the grossest things we can imagine. All those hands that were on the pump previously. Ick! Understanding that COVID germs can thrive on metal for up to three hours. Eeek! On top of that, there is the odiferous face mask. Yuck!
With those affronts to personal comfort in mind, two Houston entrepreneurs/moms/businesswomen are launching an interesting line of hand sanitizers and surface cleaners designed to take the worry and the inconvenience out of keeping it clean during COVID.
Say hello to Christina Milligan of Organized Design and Molly Voorhees, president of Becks Prime. The duo teamed up on Voorhees’ front porch last March when the pandemic surged to talk about what this brutal change to everyone’s lifestyle meant.
“We realized it was going to change the world for a very long time,” Voorhees tells PaperCity. “We really came up together with this idea of ‘OK, what is it going to take for people to start feeling comfortable again?’ There is not much on the market in terms of a cleaner in a four-ounce bottle that you can take on an airplane, and on the go, and get back to life.”
Thus, the duo began a months-long journey into learning everything they could about cleaners and hand sanitizers. They consulted with chemists, investigated cleaners and studied the marketplace where hand sanitizer was already oversubscribed and there was no barrier to entry.
“So we completely ignored that market and went for a cleaning market” Milligan says. “It’s really about what you’re touching also. It’s not just about cleaning your hands. And so that became really the base idea, getting a small format cleaner out there because right now everything is in big chemical gallons or a Clorox bottle.”
Ultimately, they found a Florida manufacturer to take them on in supplying their cleaner. Next up was Houston-based William Price Distilling Company, which began making hand sanitizer in small sizes last spring with furloughed restaurant and bar employees hired to assist in the effort.
“It turned out that they had the best product that we had seen or smelled,” Voohrees says. “No fragrance at all. So it was the perfect relationship for us.”
The ladies had their own quest for fragrances in mind and even included their children, two each, in the selection process.
The end result: Cobalt (so-named for the cobalt blue labeling and bottle color) with six scented, sanitizing FDA-approved products that eliminate 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses. The initial launch includes Crisp Peppermint Hand Sanitizer ($15) with 1,400 light mist sprays, Cootie-Killing Bubble Gum Hand Sanitizer ($15), Surface Cleaner ($15), Germ Out Keychain ($14), Peppermint Mask Spray ($15) and Touch & Got Kit ($30) which comes with two microfiber cloths. The latter is not available until December.
The idea was to have small enough bottles to carry in a handbag or cupholder in the car and the keychain product is ideal for backpacks for kids. All are user friendly, sized in easily handled 3.4 ounce bottles. As Voorhees points out, the sanitizer is ideal for door knobs, light switches, small surfaces, sunglasses, cellphones, etc. . . It’s all about cleaning things that you touch all the time.
The products are available in a handful of Houston stores and online here.