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Archive for the ‘bon marche’ Category

The media’s full of ‘LFW’ and quite right too – it’s something London’s managed to retain on the international kudos stakes and no matter how hard our bankers seemingly try to screw up the nation’s reputation, creativity continues to flourish!

We had a number of requests for sponsorship support this year which is encouraging in a way considering the folk who must have come to know us through our limited Estethica alliance over the past couple of years.

This year’s ‘beautiful people’ sipping our wonderful water were the guests at the Nolcha Fashion Lounge at the Trafalgar Hotel, held in association with Bel Esprit, Gina Conway AVEDA and AMAKA, all co-ordinated through my lovely friend Lucy at the independent and supreme quality label Tammam. This was one of two events with Gina Conway AVEDA – but the brand is a favourite of mine…

We also assisted the extremely well patronised Ecoluxe Show held at One Aldwych and opened by Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez along with an entourage of journalists… The Ecoluxe event showcased some of the worlds foremost and celebrated ethical designers, hence the celebrity vistors who tend to know their stuff… 

And at an altogether more sedate pace we’ve again worked with our good friends Sam and Valerio over at Gallery Fumi in Tabernacle Street and at their private space on Hoxton Square.

There were other visitors sampling Aquapax at some of the more discrete shows in town, but if I write about those, they’d lose some of their intimacy next year… 😉

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It’s a challenge to read my optimistic embrace of 22nd April (below) and reconcile it with how the news of the gulf oil slick – which unfolded later that same day – made and continues to make me feel. The wonderful ecological initiatives being undertaken by so many good people are dwarfed by the continuing devastation in the gulf. 

All the recycling in the world is undone by whatever went wrong deep under the sea. We watch as it spews its foul smelling hydrocarbons wreaking havoc on the ecology of the southern United States. I’ve twittered about this and other aspects of life, but resurrecting a full blown blog seemed unattractive to me up to now.

I spoke at the Brighton & Hove Chamber breakfast last Friday and a friend of mine, Gordon Borer, quoted Simon Sinek to me and reinforced something deep within; Gordon stressed to keep telling ‘my why’. To communicate my vision of how AQUAPAX will bring the wider culture change in our consumer society which I so earnestly desire… So as it’s world environment day on Saturday (June 5th) here goes with another creative release… (http://www.youtube.com/brightonchamber ; http://uk.linkedin.com/in/gordonborer ; http://startwithwhy.com/)

My why is driven by the deep feelings I had while watching the tsunami footage back on December 26th 2004 and how helpless I subsequently felt when my plans to ‘lend a hand’ were vetoed within the structure of the corporation that was my then employer.

This led me to work on a disposable portable water container suitable for long term storage, with comprehensive integrity in terms of its function and carbon footprint. This near obsession and my ultimate mission of launching a premium consumer brand called AQUAPAX, evolved into my strategy to swim up-stream when the ‘institutions’ of the world wouldn’t work with our ‘new business’…

I’ve always loved trees and dropping geography for woodwork was one of the first independent decisions I made, which impacted my education in ways I was then too young to grasp. Working with sustainable forest sources as a renewable material was the only true way I could think of to ensure the future of the worlds great forests. Look closely at the front of an AQUAPAX – you will see this clearly.

I deliberately chose to carbon balance our business energy emmissions because I knew the well meaning green brigade would otherwise leap upon AQUAPAX source being a few hundred kilometres further away than was optimal. Choosing the particular source we did – one of the purest natural mineral waters on the planet – is because I know too much about inferior quality water and was not prepared to develop a product without integrity. (a pure thirst for the environment ®)

We’ve continued to thrive through a deep recession we didn’t budget for because people are getting our message and I feel so grateful that our growing distribution now embraces a tribe of human connections in 4 countries with some major well respected retail alliances already on board our revolution…

Since my last blog on earth day: –

  • We sponsored the Estethica Press Day – held at Clarence House.
  • We sponsored the first ever exhibition of Palestinian Art – held at Kenny Shatners Rove Gallery in Hoxton Square. (We embrace art & not politics!)
  • We sponsored the regeneration project at the Rag Factory off Brick Lane, masterminded by a brilliant young photography student Charlotte Streeter.
  • We’ve agreed an exciting sponsorship with Creative Director Chris Kelly and his iconic fashion label ‘Theatre De La Mode’ for their upcoming film premier fashion show in Knightsbridge.
  • We sponsored the (non-alcoholic) refreshment in the VIP arena at the Antibes Boat Show.
  • We’ve also agreed an ongoing high profile sponsorship with the world famous FIAC in Paris through to 2012.

‘There’s revolution in the air’ – as Bob Dylan sang all those years ago… watch this space as AQUAPAX (the eco-chic conscience of the bottled water industry) gathers increasing pace over this summer and the seasons which follow, or ping me directly with your postcode if you’d like to know where your nearest current stockist is…
I’ll write again soon – I promise.  😉

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Earth Day is celebrated across the world today (April 22nd) ever since the first ever designated Earth Week gathering which was organised by some particularly forward thinking student folk in Philadelphia back in 1970. Isn’t Wikipedia wonderful? 😉

That particular week started on April 16 and ended on what they called Earth Day, namely April 22. This day has been and continues to be observed with growing global support, up to the point where it’s now recognised in virtually every country on Earth.

As one who didn’t previously make any effort to understand the history of the occasion, it’s always been a day to make an extra effort to reduce my consumption. I cycle or walk to work if at all possible and in my own little way, I try to use whatever influence I have on those around me as an example of ‘living the other way – at least for a day’.

I had a day-dream today – or might it have been a premonition – that one day AQUAPAX will become the global sponsor for Earth Day. In the day-dream there was an inevitable incongruity for a premium eco-chic portable water brand to sponsor something that’s bigger than any brand (there’s a challenge for the guys at Coke) but that led me to ponder a solution…

Instead of going for the corporate style global sponsorship, I decided we can still achieve the token ideal by asking all our regular consumers to use their empty AQUAPAX containers for one more day during Earth Week (proving that by and large, we can almost always make do with what we typically choose to throw away) and then to cut the containers in half and plant a couple of tree seeds in the 2 half containers that leaves them. It’s a fitting way for a container mostly made of wood to end its life and it’s still recycling in a more direct action Earth Day kind of way… Mrs. Green will be proud of me…

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It’s that time of year again tomorrow where I take a day off to celebrate the anniversary of being born… I confess my birthday isn’t as big a deal as it used to be, but the day still merits a bit of chill out time.

This year it’s a picnic in a child friendly farm setting with some good friends and their 2 young lads. I’ll end up exhausted but happy and ready for the Brighton Business Show (complete with real life ‘dragons’ apparently) on Wednesday morning.

I’ve turned down the launch party for Recognise Magazine tomorrow evening – dropped off the AQUAPAX for them on Friday – and considering I’m already out on Thursday evening for the Jaffa Cakes TLV first group showing of contemporary Tel Aviv art here in the UK (with AQUAPAX in support of course) I think I deserve an evening off.

In case you’re thinking this is a little out of character, I confess to having a phone call scheduled with a major retail buyer just before lunch tomorrow, but that’s still a significant proportion of me time for one whole day! 😉

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I went to the eThursday event at the Corn Exchange in Brighton yesterday evening where Dr. Alex Krotoski (aka the high priestess of social media) revealed herself as a genuine guru in her field.

She is one seriously nice person with a charming and disarming honesty that you can’t help smile at. She spoke generously about her background influences as well as all the tech stuff people were expecting and answered all the questions thrown at her with a considered and full explanation.

I’m pleased to know that I’m not the only one who believes facebook is on its way out and that a real friend is someone you talk to instead of ‘throwing sheep’ at – it’s apparently a facebook thing which I wouldn’t bother with if you haven’t heard of it…

She didn’t necessarily explain why social media has taken off the way it has; no-one asked that question specifically, yet still I wonder…

Social media is a term I didn’t grow up with. There again, we hadn’t ever heard of bottled water or mobile phones in those days (even the new fangled cordless phone versions were pretty chunky) and computers were something banks used instead of calculators… note to self – stop rambling Neil.

But I do remember that when we walked anywhere or went on holiday as a family, my parents would acknowledge neighbours or strangers with a polite greeting and encourage us kids to do the same – not quite as clichéd as in ‘The Truman Show’ but there were definite human acknowledgements and interactions with passing strangers.

I genuinely believe the passing of one of the age old customs of ‘tipping one’s hat’ to a stranger is in some way part of the reason why social media has become so popular today. I believe we all need interaction with our fellow man and that by and large we’re not ‘getting it’ in our daily lives. Talking to strangers on a train or bus puts me into a very small minority category of the populace – hence many of us sign-up to blog or twitter and worse to ‘follow’ strangers; somehow connecting with them and commenting on their musings, without ever meeting.

I do know that ‘harnessing’ (a word that used to have an association with a horse) social media is important for any challenger brand like mine. I do so want to embrace (even hug) the wonderful people who demonstrate their individuality every day by buying AQUAPAX, but it’s sometimes very challenging to find the time to ‘blog’ at the end of a full shift. Keeping up with ‘doing social media’ has become something of a chore for me, rather than the creative release that it started out as. I’m more of a people person than a pc person.

I confess I’m a user and fan of twitter – as the hopefully not too outrageous 140 character musings on the right will testify, and I wonder whether the longer term trend and an increasing workload will move me away from blogging to more cryptic tweets as a way of saying hi… The fact is that I want to tweet a lot more than I do, but I don’t. This is strangely out of a respect for those people who are following me, a lot of whom I’ve never met, who probably don’t want to know every time I have a cup of coffee or what my personal political jaundice is.

My favourite moment of last night was when Dr Aleks (she likes being called ‘Dr’) made the following random (and clearly heartfelt) statement as the microphone was moving around the room: – “man I’m loving this AQUAPAX water – isn’t this great branding?”

I told you she was nice with her self proclaimed ‘funny accent’ she pronounced it in an odd way, but she certainly made my evening with her human connection to ‘my baby’.

Have a wonderful weekend whatever your doing; whoever you are… 😉

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7 day weeks are no fun anymore. The Sussex Show was busy enough (although not as busy as last year) and working with my son on father’s day was a reward in itself; but my feet hurt a great deal more than they ever have in the past and beating the break even point at around 4:30 on Sunday afternoon hardly made me smile.

Maybe it’s a simple draining of energy because I’ve always believed how old you are is not as important as how you are old. 😉 Certainly working with my son taught me a few things about myself this weekend and admitting I’m wrong (now and then) is my own modest way of showing I’m becoming wiser with the passage of time.

There was, as always, one potential ‘ace’ contact from the weekend and it proves my adage to treat every customer with respect and the ‘enthusiasm’ as if they were your first and only customer that day. Whether or not anything comes of this particular ‘ace’ is down to the follow up meeting we’ve scheduled for next week, but my intuition is strong that Aquapax on ‘prime time’ is drawing nearer and maybe ‘Robert’ will be a catalyst to help lead us there.

With hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t sign-up to do Glastonbury this year. I know the weather forecast is better than they’ve had in my recent memory, but there are times when one has to accept that 5 days of work by day and party by night is a tough gig! 

Besides that, now Aquapax is being enjoyed equally by the illustrious world champion England cricket team and by the beautiful people at the prestigious St. Tropez Polo Club, maybe it’s time my weekend sleeping arrangements were upgraded from a tent…

wonderful cricket players drink wonderful water

wonderful cricket players drink wonderful water

 

Beautiful people drinking beautiful water in a beautiful setting

Beautiful people drinking beautiful water in a beautiful setting

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…the message is finally getting through and we took so many questions in the food hall yesterday, it was marvelous.

Of course it’s logical that sealing a wonderfully pure mineral water in light free and airtight conditions will keep the water taste absolutely fresh, but when people ‘get it’ and you can physically see their lights turning on, it’s still a great moment for me.

There will always be a majority who stand on the edge and listen to the science, before walking off with the biggest ad budget brand selection, but we never set out our stall to take over the entire market.

It’s pretty simple really; light and oxygen are a catalyst for microbial growth and Aquapax is sealed in light free, airtight, sterile (aseptic) conditions; that’s why it tastes so wonderfully pure and fresh!  It’s also pretty simple that refilling an empty Aquapax with tap water and popping it in the fridge overnight will give you a nice cold portable water for the next day; that’s down to the thermal properties of the paper carton. – never thought I’d end up as a science teacher.

For the lady who carried off a whole case of 24 Aquapax along with the rest of her shopping, you’re a legend and I hope your kids appreciate the effort you made to help them ‘drink fresh’! 🙂

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