How Epiphany is Innovating Towel-Focused Hygiene

Happy athletic couple standing together holding towels

New antimicrobial products minimize bacteria presence and keep towels cleaner

For most people, towel hygiene means washing and drying their towels after a few uses. But bacteria like coliform or E.coli can spread after just one use, increasing the risk for skin infections or getting sick. So how can we ensure our towels stay clean and eliminate potentially harmful bacteria in between washes? Tyler Collishaw, Founder of Epiphany, is creating a new antimicrobial towel spray that aims to do just that.

“Epiphany is based on towel hygiene,” Collishaw said. “It’s a towel cleanliness brand and the first product that we created is a liquid antimicrobial spray built to be sprayed onto a towel after you’ve finished using it. It will also refresh the fabric polymers and make it smell nicer. The problem we’re trying to solve is that there are about 250,000 bacteria on a towel after one day and 650 million after one week. So we’ve created a product that can make towels cleaner, safer and fresher because the effects from that bacteria can affect us both physically and mentally.”

Collishaw’s background in professional sports inspired the development of Epiphany’s towel spray and the company itself. After tearing his ACL in the MLS Combine, he spent his recovery building his business acumen. Upon his return to training, Collishaw saw his experience with equipment hygiene as an opportunity that positioned him perfectly to create a hygiene-focused product.

“I contacted and met with a few microbiologists. I realized this hygiene problem that was there and I knew other people probably had this problem too. That led me to contact some experts in the science field to help us with developing the microbial formulation. I would say I was the first guinea pig for this product. I tested it on my own towels before manufacturing to make sure everything was right and I think being driven by my own personal need has helped build trust that I’m creating products I would use too.”

With a clear vision for his products, Collishaw sought out funding opportunities to propel the company forward. What he found was a robust Cincinnati startup scene with all the tools he needed to take Epiphany to the next level.

“I wanted to see what opportunities there were in the Ohio area, focused on non-dilutive funding,” he said. “I wanted to take this business further to make it an investable asset and Ohio had some great opportunities with Main Street Ventures and some grant funding there. The Venture Lab at the University of Cincinnati was also helpful and we worked with Dr. Daniel Hassett who is a professor there. Now, we’ve got patents and trademarks filed and the product in our hands through our manufacturer. We’ve grown a lot in the past year.”

As Epiphany grows and its products are brought to market, Collishaw is focused not only on driving the startup’s success, but also on different solutions for towel hygiene and how those solutions translate into new products and opportunities down the line. The startup has been connecting with gyms, hotels, hospitals and even the military to illustrate the benefits of their products across a multitude of industries.

“The goal is to expand into different ways of solving this problem,” Collishaw said. “People might want a product that’s more focused on travel, like travel-sized bottles. Eventually, we’ll create other solutions that might focus on different processes for a towel, like in the laundry cycle. We want to solve this problem in different ways and give people different options. We also want to create some climate-friendly versions of this product, which we’re already working on. We’re looking at refillable bottles and powder-based products where people can just fill the bottle with water and save on plastic.”

Because innovation is key for Collishaw, Ohio has been the perfect place for Epiphany as a burgeoning startup. And the endless opportunities in Cincinnati have set the company up for success as they look to launch their products. As a hub for the consumer goods industry, the city has the mentorship, talent and expertise that gives the Epiphany everything it needs to prosper.

“We want to stay in Ohio long term,” Collishaw said. “Cincinnati alone has a lot of brain power, knowledge and experience, especially in the consumer goods industry and is one of those cities that I think can attract people and talent. Two of the biggest companies, Proctor and Gamble and Kroger, are here and the people in that industry have great experience and invaluable advice. There’s no better place to create a consumer goods brand than Ohio.”

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