This Founder’s Story Will Inspire You - #1197
In 2008, Aussie Daniel Flynn came across two facts: children were dying (some still are) due to waterborne illnesses and the world market for bottled water was about $50 billion (now it is about $140 billion). In that juxtaposition, he saw a solution. The idea for Thankyou Water was born. Working with his buddy Jared Burns and his then girlfriend now wife Justine Flynn, as first-year university students, they launched a consumer brand that features 55 different products and is sold in 5,500 locations across Australia and more recently New Zealand, dropping “water” from the brand to become “Thankyou.” The plan was to give 100% of profits to nonprofits working to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2015, the company set up a charitable trust which now owns the business. All dividends flow to the trust to be distributed ultimate to charities. But I’ve skipped the good parts. At the outset, the team found a bottler that agreed to produce their product without charging anything upfront. “I remember we pitched to the largest distributor of beverages in the country. They work for brands like Lipton Iced Tea and Red Bull. And we're in the meeting sharing the vision we had, change the world, you know, one bottle at a time,” Flynn says. “And on the spot in our first sales pitch, the director says, ‘I love it. I'm going to order 50,000 units from you guys.’ And then he said, ‘How quick can you get it to me?’” After a pause, unprepared for the question, Flynn says, “Well, give us about three weeks.” “I mean, we were first-year university students. We had no concept of manufacturing lead times,” he adds. “It sort of sums up Thankyou,” Flynn says. “We really haven't known what we were doing. And yet people have come around this idea.” The social media marketing and the authentic connection with consumers has been key to success.