Hand sanitizer can be hard to come by these days, but a recent collaboration between several Turlock businesses to produce the product is helping community members keep their hands clean and defeat COVID-19.
Individually, Cody Parsons and Amber Climer of Quality Professional Handwash, Hailey Kellstrom of Soaps by Hailey and Kashmere Johnson of Nothin’s Better didn’t have the ingredients needed to make hand sanitizer — a commodity they knew was much-needed not only around the world, but right here in Turlock. Stores struggle to keep the product on their shelves as worried shoppers try to make sure they have enough to keep their hands clean during the coronavirus pandemic. Working together, however, the three businesses were able to utilize their resources to complete a good deed that could potentially save lives.
QPH was able to order some isopropyl alcohol through the company’s wholesale connections, and Johnson utilized the tools made available through Nothin’s Better glass cleaner to not only obtain bottles for the sanitizer, but to label them as well.
Kellstrom, a sort of “fragrance mixologist” herself when it comes to all things bath and body, took her soap-making knowledge and applied it to hand sanitizer. The combination is about 70 percent alcohol, she said, mixed with distilled aloe vera liquid, glycerin and a touch of essential oil. Together, the three businesses gathered enough supplies to fill 237 eight-ounce bottles, which were filled at Kellstrom’s house on Thursday afternoon.
“It was really a blessing we were able to get all of the ingredients that we did,” Kellstrom said. “This was super simple compared to making soap. I had never made hand sanitizer before, though, simply because people didn’t have as huge of an interest in it.”
Prior to the pandemic, Kellstrom would set up her Soaps by Hailey booth at events like farmers markets and pop-up shops. To help curb the spread her customers have recently taken to online soap shopping, placing more orders in the past few weeks alone than Kellstrom typically receives in a year.
“I’m very fortunate to be in a position where what I make isn’t something like clothing, where people still use it and need it,” Kellstrom said.
In addition to her ongoing — and successful — soap sales, Kellstrom said she would love to make more hand sanitizer. The products needed to make the product are one in a million these days, she said, encouraging anyone who would like to donate supplies to do so.
For now, the first batch was met with gratitude from the community. Over 200 bottles were handed out in the parking lot of Paul’s Glass Co. on Friday, and a number were also donated to the Turlock Police Department and the Helping Hands Ministry.
For Kellstrom, the effort is just another example of how the Turlock community is coming together during this crisis.
“I wasn’t really sure how I would be able to help during all of this with my small soap business...but we were able to make it happen,” she said. “I think everyone can agree that Turlock has really banded together during this time and everyone has really showed up for each other.”