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Laid-off oil worker uses his talents to build Aberdeenshire based hand sanitiser firm

Former oil worker, Marko Steiger, has set up his own hand sanitizer company during lockdown and has since sold thousands of bottles.
Former oil worker, Marko Steiger, has set up his own hand sanitizer company during lockdown and has since sold thousands of bottles.

An Aberdeen engineer who lost his job in the oil and gas industry has used his talents to build a hand sanitiser firm and is now taking orders from some of the world’s leading companies.

One of thousands to be cut from the oil industry in response to downturns earlier last year and the on-going pandemic, fluids engineer Marko Streiger set about using his talents in a different way.

With his girlfriend working in the NHS and suffering as a result of the Ethanol in regular hand sanitizer, he created a new, less harsh product.

It has since been picked up by international brands like Urban Outfitters as well as firms across the north and north-east.

He said: “My girlfriend at the start of the pandemic was coming home with her hands in bits due to how harsh the stuff they have been using is, so essentially I started experimenting with hand sanitiser in our kitchen at home.”

Since then with the help of a friend, Palm Safe has also set up a website to allow businesses and consumers a direct line to acquiring their products, which has shifted thousands of units in the past few months as well as donating to many others.

He added: “One of the biggest issues was the soaring coats of alcohol due to the demand for it around the world.”

Making use of a chemical called Isopropyl which evaporates at a similar rate and destroys bacterial and viral cells by the same mechanism, meaning their new product is far kinder on the skin.

The firm had previously been able to supply up to 50 tonnes per month to customers on a 3-5 day notice thanks to an arrangement with a bottling warehouse in Peterhead.

However, with demand on the rise they have since come to an agreement with a manufacturer in Arbroath which has committed to mass producing the product.

Born in Germany, Mr Steiger grew up in the US before moving to Aberdeen. He added: “We were having to turn out very small batches to order, so after finding Stack Em in Arbroath we have the opportunity to scale our business much more easily.”

With leftover Christmas stock they have also donated around 2,000 bottles to companies over the festive period.

Around 500 businesses from across the north and north-east are believed to have applied for a portion of the firm’s left over stock.

Knowing all too well the realities faced by those who have been made unemployed as a result of the pandemic, Palm Safe has tried to reach out and give people jobs.

He added: “We are now waiting to hear back if we have been approved by the government kickstart scheme as we would like to employ 10 more roles within the firm.”

The new roles will involve bottling of the products as well as sales and marketing representatives.

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