Since 2020, hand sanitizer has become a staple category for beauty brands, but Touchland has managed to elevate the product further through its social media approach.
Touchland, launched in 2018, uses a sleek square bottle and scents like Vanilla Blossom and Appleicious to show that health and hygiene don’t have to be boring. The brand’s $10 products are sold at Sephora, Ulta Beauty, direct-to-consumer e-commerce and Target. Since launching via a successful Kickstarter, where it raised over $67,000, Touchland has maintained a thriving online community. Since the early days, the focus has been on organic engagement and growth. This has meant that, in addition to colorful, fun and engaging content, it’s focused on community management, gifting brand-aligned micro-influencers for content, and hosting strategic co-branded giveaways with brands like Beis luggage and SolBody. Touchland has amassed more than 500,000 followers across TikTok and Instagram.
According to Andrea Lisbona, founder and CEO of Touchland, Touchland’s second quarter of 2023 sales grew over 319% year-over-year and 44% compared to this year’s first quarter. The brand, which projects sales to grow 230% in 2023, compared to 2022, claims that one hand sanitizer is sold every 5.45 seconds. It will soon announce its promotional back-to-school retail activations in Ulta Beauty and its limited-edition holiday gift sets that will be exclusive to Sephora in the third quarter. Additionally, Touchland’s retail distribution will expand this fall to include 38 more Sephora permanent homebay endcaps at its existing brick-and-mortar locations. Touchland’s core customer base is Gen Z, though the Gen Alpha cohort is starting to buy into the brand. According to Pew Research Center, Gen Alpha are people born in the 2010s.
“What drives the relevancy of our product is that it’s shareable,” said Fran Ng, sales and marketing manager for Touchland. For example, she said that Touchland is in kids’ backpacks and young adult work bags, and that millennial moms can both use it in their own routines and share it with their children.
“Personal care usually sells through fear. Our goal is to do the opposite and empower people to live to the fullest and create solutions that people are excited to carry with them,” said Lisbona.
Touchland’s social strategy focuses mostly on organic growth and engagement, but it has had a formalized content calendar since January based on the brand’s selection of 16 fragrances, which the team calls its “Scent Universe.” This is brought to life by thematic content based on a monthly scent focus, such as Wild Watermelon for June. That includes a corresponding Spotify playlist and aligned, creative content produced by influencers for the brand’s social channels, primarily TikTok and Instagram. A monthly co-branded giveaway ties back to that month’s scent. Overall, 50% of the company’s 10-person workforce is dedicated to marketing.
The social team uses TikTok and Instagram for distinct purposes, though it aims to share marketing assets across both. TikTok has a behind-the-scenes focus, with Touchland employees frequently appearing and content focusing on trendy in-app moments. The team posts, on average, two videos per day. Instagram is more elevated, with frequent posts about the brand’s retail channels, as well as product education and any recent awards won.
Touchland uses the influencer marketing platform Grin to manage its manage micro-influencer marketing. Content creators can apply to be in the brand’s micro-influencer network. Those selected can then opt-in to specific branded campaigns, which often involves receiving products and posting about them. In July, Touchland worked with approximately 330 content creators.
The brand’s second-quarter business growth was partly driven by its most recent limited-edition collaboration product with global pop band Blackpink. The collab launched at Ulta Beauty and Touchland.com in June. The product was an instant success and sold out within five days, amassing a waitlist of more than 5,600 fans. Touchland’s other collaborations have included Disney in 2021 and the smiley-face-focused apparel brand Smiley in 2022. But Blackpink represents the first collaboration with people. Beginning on June 12, Touchland teased the launch with seven Instagram posts before revealing the news on June 13. It rolled out additional information about the collaboration on Instagram until June 19. The June 12 teasers included a video using the popular “Nobody’s going to know” audio. Featured employees wore all black and pink and told followers that “Something’s coming…” Other videos include opening a package containing the Blackpink collaboration ASMR-style. The collab drove approximately a 250% increase in website traffic in June, compared to the year prior, and a strong conversion rate, said Lisbona. However, it is unclear if any Blackpink members posted about the collaboration.
While Blackpink is widely regarded as a marketing juggernaut for brands and would have guaranteed success for any product or brand, the success of the collab is informing Touchland’s direction moving forward. Touchland plans to increase its number of collaborations from one to two.
“Our customer acquisition on social was affected and impacted by the iOS updates in 2021, like many DTC companies,” she said. “When we showed ads with Blackpink to cold audiences, it proved way more efficient, from an acquisition standpoint, than other regular ads. Collaborations enable us to gather new audiences and [turn Touchland] into a discovery platform for fans.”