After the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, Americans were stunned by the large number of products not stocked for purchase.
One was toilet paper, resulting in a mammoth run that scores of people likely won’t soon forget.
Another vital item was missing: bottled water.
Entrepreneur Dave Miller learned that after going to a local grocery store while talking on the phone to his business partner, Mel Nazulme. The finding led the the African Americans entrepreneurs to ask how could they provide their community an essential product?
“When he hit the bare water aisle, a light bulb went off,” Nazulme recalls.
That epiphany incited the duo to launch This Is Good Water.
Calling their venture a luxury bottled water company, the business was boldly started during the second week of the pandemic. Miller is a veteran and serial entrepreneur; Nazulme is an educator, mother, and entrepreneur. Both natives and residents of West Philadelphia, Miller and Nazulme share an eye for business opportunity and a love for community.
Focused on bottling and branding their fresh product, the owners received their first shipment in June 2020. Their main customers come from two classes: Those who drank water out of necessity, not giving it much thought and having no preference; and people very in tune with what they chose to consume. The customers range in age from 26 to 54, with 75% of them female. The bottled water sells for roughly $2 each, though for a little less when bought in larger quantities.
And the company gets its water from a natural spring in Brandonville, Pennsylvania.
Reflecting on the customer mix, Nazulme says, “They understood that drinking water was more than just a health requirement, but a privilege and a way of life. To them water was luxury, fashion, a movement.”
To begin, the owners invested modest savings from their own personal accounts, and each used a small start-up seed from a family member. “We did not raise any money,” Nazulme says. “We jumped in with what we had and organically grew from there. We are currently in the raising money stage.”
This Is Good Water On Finding Their Flow
Now, This Is Good Water has some aggressive future strategic plans to expand. While there are a few opportunities that cannot be disclosed due to a non-disclosure agreement, Miller shared some of the scale-up plans. A big one is This Is Good Water wants to raise up to $3 million in the next 12 months. He says the funding would be used to obtain larger warehouse space, given the firm has outgrown its existing storage and distribution facility in a year and a half. Interested investors should contact [email protected]
Plus, the company wants to ramp up marketing to help reach larger markets and more demographics.
“We are currently going after a younger audience as we are hoping to be more visible on the college campuses,” Miller said.
Thanks to the work of Tyrone Brown, who has been working as a visual media production consultant for more than 20 years, the company produced a commercial and visuals to help reach more customers.
“When Mel and Dave sat down to me a show me what they were doing with the “This Is Good Water Project” I got hyped,” Brown says.
“They needed some visuals to kind of explain to the world what was the This Is Good Water product is about and who was their clients. So I took it to my team and we came up with a series of videos that have now took on a life of its own,” Brown explains. “Immediately after that I started to receive dozens of calls from my clients and new people wanting to know more about the product and partner with them.”
The water is now sold primarily online and at a few local places such as eateries, eyeglass stores, and barber shops. It’s also sold on Facebook, Instagram, and a You Tube channel, This Is Good Water, just launched.
Simultaneously, Nazulme clarifies that the water is not limited to a explicit demographic. She explains that it is for the conscious consumer who is specific about what they put in their body. This Is Good Water is now running a campaign in the fashion community to help that society understand that water is a fashion statement. The firm also hopes that branding helps differentiate This Is Good Water from competitors.
“It is the in thing to drink water and be selective about the water you drink,” she says. “We want to bring people back to water and away from sugary drinks.”
Nazulme says the firm’s biggest challenges are funding, distribution, and marketing. She says funding would help to resolve the latter two issues. “We have had a few opportunities in these areas but have been very careful with selecting what businesses to contract.”
When it comes to giving back to the community, This Is Good Water aims to achieve that especially pertaining to creating opportunities for children whenever possible. “We try to donate water regularly to causes that relate back to the community,” Miller says. “We also knew that on a larger scale, we would eventually be able to start to bring in staff. That means jobs for the community.”
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