A tax auditor was more interested in entrepreneurship than accounting but put plans to start her own company on hold. A few years later after consulting and real estate she attended a panel about the global clean-water crisis.
Some months later Sarah Kauss was hiking and all she had for water was a cheap, thin metal bottle that had warmed in the sun, according to a report in Fortune. She suddenly thought, “Why not create a more upscale, fashionable, reusable bottle that would keep the liquid cool?”
The bottles called S’Well retails from $25 to $45, depending on the size. She has sold about 4,000,000 to date.
What can you get out of this success story? Is it so remarkable that it seldom happens to ordinary people?
The thing is that when you look for opportunities you have a much greater chance of finding them. What helps is if you can tap into a trend and come up with an idea for a product or service that meets a need related to the trend. Here we have an example of someone tapping into the need to make a water bottle that would be cool enough to convert users of plastic.
Identifying the need for the product is one thing but the other is positioning. There are plenty reusable bottles out there competing in the same space. Locally, we have a glass bottling company that has come up with reusable bottles made from – how did you guess – glass. But these bottles are not well designed, look like they are going to break and difficult to hold.
The metal bottle entrepreneur chose design and fashion appeal to make her bottle look attractive. It’s become a sought-after item much like a fashion accessory. The entrepreneur went after the top-end of the premium sector where a natural gap existed. Marketing that positioned the bottle as a premium item has supported its desirability.
The other thing that distinguishes this story is that the entrepreneur implemented her idea. She didn’t talk about it but made it happen. She hired a designer, found a manufacturer in China and in a few months had a prototype.
Her prototype was a double-insulated, stainless-steel bottle in a single colour, ocean blue. Then she used low-cost marketing and eventually caught the attention of a major magazine. Now she can be choosy about distribution, turning down some discount chains.
How could you look for ideas like this? You may want to spend years looking for an idea to come or you could speed up the process. Check out “Breakthrough Ideas”. It’s as close to real magic in finding your promising idea as you will never see.