T. Monique Hevener
I would like to introduce myself to you as the CEO and founder of CitrisSan®. I'm a native of Richmond, VA. Born and raised right here in the River City. At the height of the pandemic, there was a shortage of hand sanitizer across the nation. Frustrated and somewhat disappointed that we couldn't find hand sanitizer anywhere, aka (liquid gold), I decided to make my own. I wanted the create a natural hand sanitizer, with the scents of citrus fruits. So, the journey began. I played around with different formulas and mixtures and failed many times. There was a time when I created an entire 5-gallon bucket of hand sanitizer and had to repurpose it for tent weights by pouring it into 1-gallon jugs because the final product wasn't accurate. The formula must be precise, as the FDA regulates hand sanitizer in the USA. I was aiming for 60% ethyl alcohol to ensure that the product is effective. I had to figure out how to get the proper percentages of ethyl alcohol, isopropanol, and other ingredients. So, after some research, I stumbled upon a tool called a hydrometer. A hydrometer measures density of a liquid and is a tool that most home-made brewers use to test the alcohol concentration in their home-made wine and beer. I purchased a hydrometer, Ph strips, petri dishes and other tools to make sure my product was effective in eliminating germs on the hands. After many failed attempts, I had the perfect formula.
Then, I decided to sell my hand sanitizer at the local farmer’s market. So, I stood up a booth, a tent, and a table. I only had two products at that time, and only two hand sanitizer scents. At the market, I sold quite a few; people loved the smell, the consistency, and the smoothness on their hands. Two years later, I have three signature hand sanitizer scents, bar soaps, facial cleanser, bath bombs, sugar scrubs and hand creme'.
I have always been a science nut and in high school, I placed first in the science fair. The project I chose was plants. I had to determine if snails could survive without plants. So, I placed snails, plants and sand in several jars of water and some jars without plants. The assumption was that the snails in the jar with plants, sand, and water would live longer because the plants would be a source of food. Well, surprisingly, the snails in the jars without plants lived the longest. This project proved that snails didn't need plants to live and also snails were able to get nutrients from other sources.
My dad was so proud of me on that day when I walked through the front door from school on that day and told him I'd won the science fair. I was one of only 2 black students in my entire High school in Waterboro, Maine, and I won. I was happy too, and very proud of myself. I really didn't think I would win. I just knew that I had fun with the project and loved science. I really didn't care if I'd won or not.
If my dad were here today, he would be so proud of me. He always encouraged us to do the best at whatever we chose to do and to put 110% effort into it, and that is exactly what I've done with CitrisSan®.
Each batch of CitrisSan's® hand sanitizer is tested at an accredited laboratory for accurate alcohol percentages and tested for the presence of methanol (wood alcohol) to ensure none is present in our product.
UR Alumni School of Professional & Continuing Studies
University of Richmond 2010
Bachelor of Applied Studies Information Systems Technology
Law and Technology