Delamar Spa Interview With Everybody Water
Delamar Spa West Hartford partnered with Everybody Water, a company with a mission to change the lives of women and girls by bringing running water into homes for the very first time. We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing the founders, Kimberly Reilly and Megan Hayes, to learn more about Everybody Water’s roots, values, and future:
Delamar: Do you have a particular experience that has come to shape or define the identity of Everybody Water?
Everybody Water: Not having come from a food or beverage background, Megan and I started this business in a grassroots fashion. We produced 5 truckloads of water (the minimum order) and had only the option to begin by filling up our cars and knocking on the doors of small businesses… cafes, juice bars, coffee shops and fitness studios. Kind of nervous at first we found we met amazing people who had open hearts, believed in our vision, and wanted to use their platforms to be part of it. We now are selling by the truckload, however, it still comes down to personal relationships, real people, and real conversations. It never feels like sales. Whether it is a small juice bar or the head of a corporation or luxury hotel… It is the managers, owners, purchasers, heads of companies that completely understand the power they have in their purchases and say YES. We are the kind of company other good companies want to support and they know their employees and customers will appreciate the choice too.
D: You’ve previously mentioned that Everybody Water distributes primarily to independent or small businesses and won’t be found in major supermarket chains. Is this a logistical or moral decision?
E: We look not just for customers, but partners who are intentional in choosing Everybody Water to make a statement that women & girls should not have to spend their time collecting water all day and instead should have the time to attend school, earn incomes and thrive. As such we’ve found an amazing customer base in hospitality accounts, corporations and small businesses that offer only one water… Everybody Water. Through their business with us, they are making a direct impact in the clean water infrastructure projects we support. Their choice of Everybody Water also highlights other priorities such as being environmentally conscious, supporting a women-owned small business… and alignment with sophisticated branding. At this time, we don’t feel like a supermarket or box store can make that same kind of statement while they are also selling dozens of other waters, most of which are also in plastic water bottles. By focusing on true partners who go all in, our message, business, impact and sales volumes are optimized.
D: Everybody Water has a simple mission, However, simple can often be the most challenging to execute. What have you learned about simplicity as your company grew and provided more girls and women access to clean water?
E: It is important to stay true to our core and stick to that mission not only for us to change as many lives of women & girls as possible with clean water infrastructure, but also in hopes that our branding will raise awareness of the fundamental barrier that lack of running water is to basic success… and in hopes this awareness will create a ripple effect, inspiring others to find ways to do even more. Many well-intentioned organizations have come to us in hopes of collaborating. It’s hard to say no to other great causes but we don’t want our audience to be confused about what it is we support and why. We have to have a clear message to be effective.
D: In the past, you’ve expressed interest in expanding into other products – having done a clothing line at one point – that align with the same core mission. Looking further ahead, do you foresee supporting other essential human rights such as access to healthy food or sustainable housing?
E: We created Everybody Water as a statement brand because we believe that everybody should want everybody to have clean running water in their home. We believe we can apply this statement to other goods and services while still supporting the same cause. The need is so great with over 2 billion people without water and sanitation in their homes that I would imagine we would continue with our efforts in this space. That said, we feel very strongly about all human rights. If Everybody Water is as successful in collective impact as we believe it can be… who knows what can come of it and what other good behind which we can rally community.
D: How did you end up deciding to partner exclusively with Water1st International?
E: After researching and meeting with some of the biggest names in the clean water development space, we realized the work of Water1st is far superior in quality, sustainably approached with lasting results and an unprecedented track record of success, and steadfast in only supporting full-solution water & sanitation projects that bring water directly into homes. Having household access is what makes the critical difference in impacting the lives of women & girls, unlike band-aid solutions that build village wells and pumps and still require them to spend all of their time collecting water instead of attending school and earning incomes. This amazing organization is also committed to monitoring work overtime and always looking to improve practices. They do not build systems and leave a region once complete but rather help people help themselves and support them through their own organization for lasting results. In addition, Water1st is committed to educating youth on the global water crisis and getting them involved in being part of the solution. Everybody Water thinks this is pretty important because youth are the future problem solvers of this world. In addition to funding water projects, we have also supported Water1st youth programming in the Northeast to bring speakers and build youth groups at public and private middle and high schools.
D: Can you speak more about the source and sustainability of your water?
E: Our water is sourced from a community system, not unlike the water infrastructure systems we support. It comes from a ground source and is filtered by reverse osmosis on-site where it is packaged in the paperboard carton. We think it’s great that we can achieve the quality we want while not hauling water long distances from source to packaging. People tell us they love the taste. The packaging itself has many sustainable features including the fact that the paper in the paperboard and the cap derived from sugarcane are sourced from renewable resources, lowering the carbon footprint. The paper is also FSC-certified meaning it comes from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council where trees are replenished and regrown. One of the biggest efficiencies of the carton over cans and bottles is that the paperboard is shipping in rolls before it is filled requiring far less trucks.
D: You first teamed up with Water1st for a trip in March of 2018 to provide water to the homes of 350 people in La Virtud, Honduras. Since then, you’ve gone to Bangladesh. Do you have any plans to join Water1st for another trip in the near future?
E: We’ve traveled three times with Water1st, twice to Honduras and once to Bangladesh to experience in-depth the organization, planning and execution of these projects… as well as witness the need and the successful impact of completed projects over time. What was remarkable was how adept these projects are to scale. We’ve brought filmmakers to document so that people back home can relate and be inspired. Covid-19 has impacted our ability to travel over the past two years but we hope that the opportunity will be open again in the next year. Happily, despite Covid water projects have continued during this time. One of the biggest benefits of travel for me and Megan is that it gives us all the motivation that we need as a start-up to keep going through challenging times knowing the real difference it makes. We feel very grateful to be free enough and able to create something to improve the world.