OLIKA is an innovative company that seeks to reinvent personal care and household staples. The recent launch of their first product, Birdie, is shaking up design and formulation in the hand sanitizer category to bring consumers a product that is both functional and fun.

Birdie is a 2-in-1 hand sanitizer designed with a spray product on top and wipes in a bottom compartment. Birdie differs from other hand sanitizers on the market because it has a few, simple ingredients, including soothing aloe and aromatic essential oils that protect the skin.

The packaging choice for Birdie is as innovative as the product itself. Rather than choosing a stock shape, the brand decided on a unique minimalistic package with smooth simplicity. The component has a locking mechanism so that the hand sanitizer will not open and spill in your pocket or purse. The egg shape of Birdie personifies OLIKA’s nature-inspired branding and accomplishes the company’s goal of marrying form and function.

Jessica Postiglione, CEO and co-founder of OLIKA, explained to us the process of establishing a brand and bringing an innovative new product to market through her experience with Birdie:

Recognize Market Opportunity

Through ongoing extensive research, Jessica recognized the opportunity in the hand sanitizer category that distinguished a place in the market for Birdie. She used the unique opportunity of building a brand from scratch to put herself in the mindset of the consumer. By asking questions about the product like “Why couldn’t it smell good and why couldn’t it feel good?,” she recognized the space for a hand sanitizer that combined fun with function and established the first step of the market process: have an innovative idea.

Do Your Research

Research should be ongoing at every stage. In order to recognize the opportunity and see where the current pain points were, Jessica researched the competition. By constantly conducting informal surveys, she found people’s perceptions and where the opportunity was. “The more info you get from people the better because your product has to resonate with them,” Jessica compiled through her market research. An example of a pain point she found with typical gel hand sanitizers was how people felt too much product came out at once. This influenced Jessica’s decision to opt for a liquid laser spray model rather than a gel. Combining initial ideas and research to back it up, Jessica concludes the next step of the process: find your product.

Build a Unique Authentic Brand

For OLIKA, the custom product and unique mold of Birdie tells the authentic story of the brand’s influence from nature. Jessica feels it is important to “have your marketing story down, have a space and identify your category.” Expressing innovative vision through the product and story builds a strong authentic brand. Jessica describes this part of the process as working with creative to combine marketing and design to essentially establish both the product and brand. Where creative and marketing meet establishes the next step: find your packaging.

Have a Backup Plan

Through the whole process, Jessica says to “know that you’re working on a timeline and always have backups.” Through her experience, things can go wrong unexpectedly at any stage. Her advice is to “Be flexible. Anticipate the things that can go wrong and be happy when they don’t.” When creating Birdie, OLIKA tried different shapes and sizes until they got it right. When things didn’t go as planned they tried something new. This transitional step between creation and distribution requires one thing: be flexible.

Create Partnerships that Make Sense

For Olika, it’s important to fit Birdie in with retailers and partnerships that make sense for the brand. They are currently in discussion with retailers, and Jessica feels expanding where it makes sense is important in creating a real authentic brand. This includes careful consideration of who to partner with and where to sell the product as well as what distribution channel is the best fit. “We want to make hand sanitizer a fun experience and are working on expansion,” says Jessica in defining the final step of the process: distribute and expand.

All of these steps create the process that Jessica feels “sounds simple but is really hard,”—bringing a product to market successfully, as shown by OLIKA, relies on the combination of an innovative product and authentic brand.