When drinking tap water is better for the environment and 1,400 times less expensive than purchasing one-time use water bottles, you’d think everyone would be doing it?
Meet Jonathan Byrt and Jesse Leeworthy, the best friends behind the reusable, environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing water bottle – Memobottle. A bottle they’re branding as something more than a container for water but also a fashion accessory you’ll want to carry around. On this episode of Xero Gravity, Jonathan and Jesse discuss everything from their super successful crowdfunding campaign, the monumental challenges they faced, and their efforts to shift consumer behavior one Memobottle at a time.
For Jonathan and Jesse, Memobottle is about more than selling a product. So if you aren’t going to use it, don’t buy one. It’s really not about the money for the two entrepreneurs who measure success by a happiness index and how effectively they’re shifting people’s mentality and behavior to a more reusable one.
“People’s minds won’t be changed in terms of their usage unless they’re provided with a more convenient option. People are always going to go with the most convenient option. It’s sad but it’s true. So whilst we want them to increase the exposure and improve the environmental situation, the product needs to be more convenient than what’s currently on the market.” says Jonathan.
The idea for Memobottle was born, and after doing some market research with friends and family Jonathan and Jesse took it a step further. They started a Kickstarter campaign with hopes of reaching $15,000 AUD to get their idea to market. Not only did they meet their goal – in 36 hours – they ended up with over 6,000 backers from 72 different countries totaling $260,000 AUD. “It was challenging. It was a blessing in disguise,” says Jonathan.
The enormous success on Kickstarter left Jonathan and Jesse with thousands of orders to fill and not a lot of time to do it – three months to be exact. It was also during this time they changed manufacturers in order to make a higher quality product, which turned out to be a very expensive decision.
“We had spent half of the money that we had raised on Kickstarter. We didn’t have enough to refund our backers – even if we wanted to. So we just looked at each other and were like ‘alright, that won’t do’ and we just pushed and we just kept on going until it was right,” says Jesse.
Tune in for some more bromance and business talk from Jonathan and Jesse on Xero Gravity #87. You’ll hear what they would do differently next time, how they’re dealing with competition and the connection between Memobottle and Matt Damon. Also, don’t miss out as the two best friends test out how well they really know each other.
- Water.org – Safe water and sanitation non-profit
- Slack – Real time messaging
- World Time Buddy – World clock and time converter
If you enjoyed this episode, join us again next week when we talk to Adil Dhalia about how to be a better adult – and it’s all about making more time for play. Be sure to check out all of our previous episodes for more small business tips, resources and insights.
What would you like to hear?
Got a topic you’d like to hear discussed? Or a business expert you admire and would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments below!
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