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Posts Tagged ‘eco-water’

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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Well it rhymes with trouble and strife, but no-one really wants to read of another’s woes, so I opted for the more palatable headline… We too have the day to day pressures of running a growing business, late paying customers and un-cooperative banks, but in the wider scheme of things, we’re winning down here at AQUAPAX head office, with both our customer base and distribution network moving in the right direction. More importantly, as an entrepreneur with a reasonably healthy ‘macro’ perspective, we remain healthy and happy as a family during those precious (few) hours we spend together.

Someone bought my attention to a hydration article recently which is worth sharing… Recent research has uncovered habitual dehydration among 96% of the UK’s office workers, which has prompted a campaign by one of the more worthy natural juice companies (Juice Doctor). It’s designed to educate the nation and encourage healthy hydration habits, urging people to check the colour of their urine as a matter of course and setting the nation a goal to ‘keep it light’.

Apparently two in every three Brits are dehydrated and while our bodies offer an accurate visual detector to understand our individual hydration level, there’s a distinct lack of understanding of what the campaign refers to as ‘simple biology’. Their findings show that 93 percent of office workers either don’t check and/or don’t know what the colour of their urine indicates. For those who didn’t study biology, the lighter your urine, the better you’re hydrated!

The ‘Keep It Light!’ survey polled over 1,000 UK office workers and apparently a shocking 75 percent of UK office workers cited their first response to a headache as taking headache pills rather than drinking more water. This coincides with my observations at the fabulous designer label Theatre de la Mode’s Olympian Exhibition in Brompton Rd last week; we allowed a significant quantity of water for consumption on a hot evening, only to find a majority seeking hydration in vodka punch. It was a nice punch, but moderation went out of the window! Still, the wise ones would have been grateful for their AQUAPAX experience next morning…

Back to the report, which claims the majority of folk surveyed, 60% believed they drank enough water, less than 4% were actually getting the recommended 7+ glasses of water per day. Shockingly (from my perspective) almost three-quarters of the respondents admitted to drinking either no water at all or only one to two glasses.  I find it’s a good discipline to keep my AQUAPAX on my desk at work. I can then re-fill it from the water dispenser (aka tap) and put the lid back on to keep my water cool inside the pack rather than sitting in an open glass warming while awaiting colleagues to cough in it… (bad image but that’s the reality!)

It’s proven that a mere 2% drop in hydration can lead to a massively disproportionate 20% drop in concentration. This leads to the ‘Keep It Light!’ campaign crux which warns a habitually dehydrated worker can be wasting up to one day per week in loss of concentration. Staggering statistics!

Enough of the public service broadcast for one blog, what’s happenening at AQUAPAX head office I hear you ask… Yes that was a typo if you looked closely, but if it’s good word for a 4 year old, it’s cool by me!

AQUAPAX has commenced the long awaited launch into the first 60 Tesco stores, primarily across the south east of England, but some as far afield as the midlands where we’re in Coventry and Stratford Upon Avon. It’s an ambient listing in the first instance, which means the AQUAPAX will probably be on the shelf rather than in the fridge, however, that’s the way it has to be before we can roll out to a more accessible store base within a more prominent front of store location.

We’re awaiting the wider scale roll out before making noise and generating attention to our presence, which we’re planning to coincide with our new website – running a little late but live before the Summer’s out.  On that note, it’s time to start the week – well it is almost 07:00 so the week has officially begun. Keep smilling 🙂

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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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Reading Seth’s blog earlier on the endless search for wow, his closing paragraph (quoted including his punctuation) makes a lot of sense to me… “In the race between ‘who’ and ‘how many’, who usually wins – if action is your goal. Find the right people, those that are willing to listen to what you have to say, and ignore the masses that are just going to race on, unchanged.”

As a challenger brand, we are completely focussed on who, and for the time being at least, we largely ignore the how many; as independents, there’s little prospect and indeed little point in us going flat-out to spend money we don’t have to convince people to try AQUAPAX if they prefer flavoured / carbonated beverages, or if they really don’t have any feeling for the purity and integrity of our product and what it stands for. If you’re cool with plastic then why would we want to give you a free AQUAPAX?

The essence of what Seth wrote is to do with branding and brand identification / acceptance by the market, yet at another level, Seth is wrong. Marketing is just one facet of business and while it’s the one we consider most important, a recent investment of $22M by Siva Group for 50% of a Norwegian water brand shows that smoke and mirrors (wow by any other name) still applies if you’re trying to seduce an investment manager within a $3Bn portfolio and seemingly little grasp of reality.

The brand in question bought retail market share at the expense of margin (and at real cost) with a ‘me too’ product under increasing ecological scrutiny, yet the investment community sees the mass distribution achieved and believes this will translate into long-term sustainable (presumably profitable?) market share.

With a low value product like water, I question how a production base in Norway can translate into a globally competitive and profitable business for a mid range brand, but that’s really not our problem… the investment managers who made the call probably have their own plans to sell on to some other gullible fund manager when the time is right for them.

We can’t consider the specifics of ‘precisely how’ as we follow our path – the one Seth and others in touch with the zeitgeist advocate as correct. We’re turning over every stone and moving in the right direction, in the UK, France and in Holland. AQUAPAX (our award-winning natural mineral water, that’s packaged in paper cartons and which is so pure it’s even suitable for babies) is the change we want everyone to experience. While we are proud of AQUAPAX appearing as the mineral water of choice in 5 star resorts on the Maldives and the Caribbean, we’re also intrigued that we haven’t yet had the umpteen million dollar offer for our shares!

It is pleasing though, that we keep on touching folk who care enough about what we’re doing, to pass on our message through their own free will and belief that it’s right and that our time has come. We also have some larger scale distribution up our sleeves to soon make it a little easier for you to refresh on the move without feeling guilty. I wonder how investment managers define all that within their ‘wow based’ business plans?

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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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It’s less common than you think – I was reading this piece put out by ACE UK on sustainable material awareness and it highlights to me the non-contiguous government policy and plainly evident absence of common sense regarding making any impact on climate change. Should we be surprised from a bunch of bureaucrats who needed the independent media to point out how to fill in an expenses claim form?

From my own efforts I know central government will not engage with us on their blanket VAT rates for retail products. These don’t discriminate between the carbon sensitive and carbon intensive (aka AQUAPAX carton vs any other bottled water). They are really good at passing enquiries between various departments and the reason there can’t be any change is always “something beyond control”.  Their whole thinking process appears to be driven by what a particular rule says, irrespective of whether it makes any sense or not, nor its intended application. – I wasn’t going to use the expenses scandal as an example again, but now you mention it… 😉

I’ve written to my MP’s (the one representing the community I live in and the one in the community I work in) and finally got an off-piste response from one (ignored by the other) clarifying how important the issue is and effectively underlining how they champion recycling initiatives which focus on recycling carbon intensive products / technologies; quietly ignoring more sustainable materials which I’d asked about. There was also a hair brained paragraph about potentially rewarding recycling with M&S vouchers!

I’ve previously blogged on the politics of recycling and said it all before – whichever way you look at it the government’s recycling policies don’t make a great deal of sense…

Does make me wonder why we tolerate incompetence in government and why someone hasn’t come up with a better way of staying in touch with the zeitgeist. Message to DC – call me if you’d like some truly innovative thinking when you and your buddies start looking at this mess and wondering how to clean it up.

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I spoke with my good friend Robert yesterday evening – you know when you meet someone who you just click with – that’s him! We met in Dubai last year for the Arab Beverage Industry Seminar, where AQUAPAX won the ‘Best Bottled Water of the Year’. He and I celebrated appropriately as old friends might, despite having only known one another a few days – we’ve kept in touch ever since; as friends do!

Robert was telling me how Mr. Obama’s ‘change and hope’ campaign message has translated in his home state of Michigan to the fact that ‘change’ has now come and people ‘hope’ they can keep hold of their homes… It seems the unemployment in his home state is pretty severe and I really feel for him and his young family.

That got me thinking – as this time of year often does, on some of the wisdom gained during the past 12 months. It’s good to reflect and hopefully not make so many mistakes next year…

  • My conscience doesn’t abide by ‘majority rule’.
  • A wise man holds his tongue when he’s right because even fools are right sometimes.
  • No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted and no man is as poor as a man unable to give anything.
  • Take time to think – my mind grows rich from what it receives, but my heart from what it gives.
  • Finish every day and be done with it – being happy at home is my ultimate goal. Worry won’t rob tomorrow’s sorrow but it will sap today’s joy.
  • Perseverance is not a long race; it’s a series of short races in succession.
  • I can’t win if I don’t begin – failure is often the line of least persistence.
  • I will not dwell on where I fell but will identify where I slipped.
  • I will do more of the things I think I can’t do; doing the impossible is fun – especially when you watch other’s reactions!
  • Money does not really change people – it merely unmasks them.
  • Words are like stones and can’t be recalled – unlike stones they often have little substance…

Finally, a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that I hold dear: – “Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes” 

Happy New Year to you dear reader, remember, AQUAPAX are the future… 🙂

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