February 25, 2017

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Water Bobble


A waste dump inspired this entrepreneurial success.

While visiting Asia in 2008, Richard and Stephanie Smiedt passed an open field literally piled high with waste. It was a moment of inspiration that turned their attention toward a new kind of water bottle.

Why water bottles?

It’s estimated that the world uses more than 200 billion single-serve water bottles a year! So in 2009, the Smiedts set out to slow down the consumption and waste of the throw away  water bottle.

Instead of tinkering away with inventions in their attic, they found a product that met their criteria on EBay. It was, in the words of Inc. Magazine, “a portable bottle customers could fill from the tap… that filtered water on the way out.”

They re-designed their find with the help of industrial designer Karim Rashid, known for his work with Method Home and the Dirt Devil. They called their elegant new creation, the Water Bobble.

What’s different about this trendy reusable single-serve bottle is that it comes complete with a replaceable carbon filter. The filter removes chlorine and organic contaminants from tap water — so it literally purifies as you drink. The couple secured exclusive rights to the patent behind the filtration mechanism, which gave Water bobble a head start against copycat competitors – ensuring it could seize dominant market share.

Each filter lasts for 300 bottle servings. After that, you just replace the filter.

Consumer response was amazing. Within 2 years they pulled in sales revenue of $20.8 million! Today you can find Water Bobble in more than 33 countries around the world, in more than 40,000 retail stores. And sales are on track to generate revenue of $40 million!

Meanwhile, the couple continues to look for new ways to make old products better for the environment.

Richard and Stephanie Smiedt exemplify one of our axioms for entrepreneurs:

Think “tried and true,” and make it new.

The Water Bobble – a water bottle with replaceable carbon filters. Now Why Didn’t I Think of That?

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