Brian Southard thought there must be a better way to clean one’s hands than with sanitizing gels. So he decided to do something about it.
As CEO and founder of Relevo Labs LLC in Carmel, Southard has created Touch, what he says is the world’s first aerosol-based hand sanitizer.
The inspiration for the product came to Southard, after a long, hot day of grabbing ride handles, visiting concession stands and using restrooms during an amusement park trip with his family.
“I noticed my wife spraying sunscreen on our kids, and I thought to myself: ‘I wish they made a germ block the same way they make a sun block or sunscreen, that could be put on with a simple spray,’ ” he said.
Southard, the subject of IndyStar’s How I Landed My Job feature, admits he personally doesn’t like oils, lotions or gels.
“They’re greasy on the body and on the hands,” he said. “I do like the ease of a light, dry aerosol sunscreen. The market for sunscreens exploded with the invention of the aerosol versions.”
Southard figured he could do the same thing with sanitizers to protect users for up to six hours from germs, viruses and bacteria that cause illness.
Touch is available at Walgreens and other national retailers. For more information, go to touchgermblock.com.
More about Brian Southard
Job title: CEO and Founder, Relevo Labs.
Family: Wife, Kristi; sons, Chase and Christian.
Education: B.S. in Biology (Pre Med) from Virginia Military Institute.
Previous work experience: CEO of Restor Property Restoration.
Favorite quote: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” — Steve Jobs
Q: What are your main responsibilities with Touch?
Answer: “In a sense, I’m the ‘Chief Start-Up Executive.’ Just like any entrepreneur, I have to wear many hats, but that’s what makes it fun. On any given day, I’ve got to worry about finances, sales, distribution, marketing and public relations.”
Q: What does a typical workday look like for you?
A: “No workday is typical when you’re starting a company. Half the day, you are trying to be proactive in planning the future; the other half, you are simply reacting to chaos that occurs in a new business.”
Q: What kind of training or education is necessary for a position like yours?
A: “None. To be a good entrepreneur, you need to graduate from the School of Hard Knocks. I graduated from Virginia Military Institute with a pre-med bachelor of science degree. I’ve been waiting to start a company with a product like Touch my whole life.”
Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A: “That’s easy — watching something go from an idea to actually seeing it out in the world. Also, seeing people’s reactions as they use the product.”
Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
A: “Every new business deals with cash flow. It can make or break you.”
Q: What personal traits are key to success in your job?
A: “I think you’ve got to be willing to tolerate risk. You also have to be confident and have direction.”
Q: What advice would you give other people who want to start their own businesses?
A: “Go for it! Don’t wait. The biggest and most important step is just get out there and do it. Don’t get paralysis by over-analysis. You’ll figure it out along the way.”