As essential as clean water is to life on Earth, not everyone has access to it. While many can access clean water by simply turning on a faucet, many other people must spend significant time, effort, and money to get this basic resource.
Fortunately, Everybody Water aims to fix that. The company sells clean water in cartons instead of plastic bottles, donating a portion of its profits to nonprofits working to give more people access to clean, running water. We reached out to co-founder Kimberly Reilly to learn about the inspiration for the company and its goals for the future.
Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Can you give us a brief elevator pitch for your company?
Everybody Water Inc. is disrupting the packaged water space with social impact as its cornerstone. Selling premium water in a 16.9 oz carton, our company is on a mission to support clean water infrastructure projects that bring running water into people’s homes for the first time, dramatically impacting the lives of women and girls, so they no longer have to collect water and instead have the time to attend school, earn incomes, and thrive.
Everybody Water is water that makes a statement. We collaborate and support our customers to highlight the intentionality in their choice of water, not only in selecting an alternative to a plastic water bottle but also in their socially-conscious desire to uplift women and girls globally through clean water, alignment with the UN’s sustainable development goal for clean water and sanitation for all, and their support of a women-owned small business.
What inspired you to take the leap and build this company?
As an entrepreneur, I wanted to shift gears and use my creative talents to build a successful business selling a simple, everyday product that would also have meaning in helping to improve the lives of others. When my business partner, Megan, and I discovered that the lack of accessibility to clean running water was one of the most significant factors in holding back women and girls from getting an education, we were determined to focus on this cause. I wanted to teach my daughters, by example, the power each one of us has to make amazing change happen. I believe business can be a driving force for change. We believed that there would be many other business owners and leaders with shared ideals that would identify with our brand mission and story and want to collaborate to further our goals.
What past experiences prepared you to start, build, and lead your company?
I had a unique educational background in the history of European design, completing a master’s degree at a joint program at Parsons School of Design and Smithsonian museums, which led to an early career in appraising objects for museums and private collections in some of the world’s most incredible interiors. Prior to Everybody Water, I most recently had built a luxury custom lighting brand of my own designs, sold to top architects and designers in leading showrooms in the US. Over time, I cultivated a refined eye for design of all types and wanted to translate these skills to creating a product accessible to anyone. With a great understanding of the power of visual communication, I bring a vision for the Everybody Water brand that is universally sophisticated, unique, and most importantly, also approachable — something that appeals to everybody.
What is your vision for the future of the industry you are operating in?
Our vision is to build a powerful community of businesses and institutions dedicated to partnering with Everybody Water, aligned by shared goals to be part of the solution in ensuring women and girls do not have to spend all of their time collecting water and instead can thrive.
Who is on your team and how did you come together?
I co-founded Everybody Water with my friend and neighbor, Megan Hayes. We started to brainstorm as to what was next in our lives and found we had incredible common ground. We both knew we wanted to support clean water through business in order to impact women and girls globally. We started out with “how to help solve a problem” and then came the product. It’s rare to find a partner that is as complementary, talented, and dedicated — but wow, when you do, you can go far.
We’ve built a team of support made up of incredibly talented people with diverse backgrounds in finance, sales, communication, legal, and more. The common factor in all of them is not only their top skill sets but also their passion for our mission and to be working towards a higher goal.
Do you have any competition, if so, how do you differentiate?
There are hundreds of other waters and even a few other waters in cartons, but we have found our niche in a massive industry. We don’t sell in the traditional path of grocery and convenience stores, lost among competition and discounted sale prices. We seek customers who want to partner together in something as simple as the water they choose.
What does your business model look like?
We have a mostly business-to-business (B2B) model in targeted regions. We also plan to grow our e-commerce capability, which to date has only been organic.
What brought you to crowdfunding and how do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?
Everybody Water is a grassroots story. We wanted to keep it that way. In the spirit of collective impact, we feel crowdfunding gives the everyday person the opportunity to invest in startups they believe in. We’ve always done things differently, so why not raise capital differently, too?
What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?
We hope you will join us in this opportunity and become part of our story! In crowdfunding, we hope not only to raise necessary capital but also to build a community of brand advocates that can help us spread the importance of clean water for all and especially the fundamental success of women and girls.
As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? have you set any future goals for the company?
We will look to expand our national footprint, distribution, and strategic partners that will grow our volume and impact significantly. As for opportunities down the road, any options that can bring our company growth and continued impact would always be considered, but I also hope to stay active in the vision and mission for quite some time.
We look forward to seeing where Kimberly and her team take the company. Everybody Water is currently raising on StartEngine.