Jessica Postiglione is the CEO & Co-Founder of OLIKA (oo-lee-kah), a start-up that created “the world’s most beautiful hand sanitizer,” also known as Birdie. OLIKA is following in the footsteps of brands like Method and EOS that have launched consumer goods that combine delightful packaging with formulations that contain high quality natural ingredients. Hand sanitizer has never looked so good.
I was born and raised in Chicago proper, the eldest of five children in a working class household. Due to a very generous financial aid package and scholarship awards, I was able to attend the University of Chicago. After a few years in the workforce, I was accepted to the Harvard Business School. I was the first in my family to enroll in a graduate program.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a passion for business. At one point in high school I even tried my hand at selling homemade arts and crafts. While my home-based, high school start-up didn’t pan out too well, many lessons were learned in the process. After college, I was an investment banker and held a number of corporate strategy roles after business school. I knew I always wanted to do something entrepreneurial, and when given the opportunity, I jumped at the chance to build OLIKA.
OLIKA is a design-forward brand reinventing consumer staples, starting with hand sanitizer. Our first product is Birdie, an adorable 2-in-1 hand sanitizer with a natural sanitizing spray and 10 dry wipes housed in his base for additional cleaning.
At OLIKA, we wanted to create a product with personality. Birdie is most definitely a “he,” and honored to be called “The world’s most beautiful hand sanitizer,” by Fast Company. He feels good and he is out and about looking for love. Meet him at OLIKAlife.com.
I developed, wrote, and appeared in our cheeky brand video series called, Give ’em the Bird. In the first episode, titled “The Dirty Dog Walker,” the male protagonist tries to woo a fellow female dog walker. After exchanging some flirty banter, he casually picks up his dog’s poop with a crumpled-up paper towel, subsequently attempting to use the same hand to greet the woman.
Knowing the “devil is in the details,” I wanted to ensure that the dog’s “business” looked as real as possible. Enter Amazon, and countless hours spent searching for “fake dog poop.” I spent perhaps a little too much time pouring over which products seemed the most realistic and had the best reviews. Looking back, I don’t know which is funnier, that part of my job consisted of searching for this item or that Amazon had tons of options.
You can be the judge below. Do you think it looks realistic?
Episode 1: “The Dirty Dog Walker”
Episode 2: “The Stall Stealer”
I always look to set a good example and strive to serve as a role model for others, especially women. Starting a business is hard work and can be quite scary, but it’s also very rewarding.
I also hope that our product Birdie brings goodness to the world by 1) doing his job of protecting hands against germs, and 2) bringing more joy to a person’s day. At OLIKA, we like to think our bird elevates an everyday experience to a smile-worthy moment of personal care. The reaction children have to the product is just amazing. The look of excitement and wonder as they hold Birdie in their hands is why we get up in the morning.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I launched my start-up,” and why?
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
I would say Miley Cyrus or Jeff Bezos; and that might be the first time ever they were referenced in the same sentence! While hailing from completely different industries, both are risk takers, courageous, and think outside the box. They are examples of what brands need to be to stay relevant and fresh in this ever-charging, on-demand world.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
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If you would like to see the entire “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” Series in Huffpost, ThriveGlobal, and Buzzfeed, click HERE.