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Posts Tagged ‘pure thirst’

Isn’t this appropriate for ‘the waterguy’ with a time management challenge when it comes to regular blog updates… but less of me and what’s with the blog action water thing?

 ‘Blog Action Day’ (capitals because it’s official) is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year’s topic is water…

Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water, which equates to one in eight of us. A lack of basic sanitation (water dependent) causes 80% of diseases and kills more people each year than war does. Children are especially vulnerable and as a parent of a child who’s survived dysentery, it’s a most frightening (water borne) illness which we were fortunate to have nursed our child through.

The UN predicts that one tenth of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply and sanitation. So simple, yet so challenging, particularly where politics gets in the way to restrict those least able from helping themselves…

For my part, water is an environmental issue, a sustainability issue and an issue which deserves a global profile as bloggers of the world theoretically unite in one conversation…

I’m not really into research, but the US, Mexico and China apparently lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. That sounds high to me, but based on this figure, around 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, while more than 80 percent will unlikely ever be recycled.

Which brings me back to where I started out several years ago looking for a better alternative when I realised people won’t stop drinking bottled water just because I think its ecological folly.

I’m pleased, on this particular Blog Action Day, to be able to report how Aquapax is still growing from strength to strength, with a retail listing approaching 500 stores across Europe and with exciting new distribution areas embracing the change we’ve introduced in their own countries.

While it’s frustrating how some UK retailers still won’t talk to us until we can prove with expensive research reports how their particular customers might actually appreciate a more ecologically sensible choice of packaged water, we continue to grow through customer choice exercised within Tesco, Waitrose and Monop (part of Monoprix Group) so this makes three of the largest and most respected retailers in the world.

I’ve updated the ‘where can I buy Aquapax’ listing below with the UK based stores we know about and ask you to please let us know if you’d like to add your local independent retail outlet to this list.

Warm wishes

N

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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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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 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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Between 22 and 25 October the art world turned out in force to celebrate the 36th FIAC in Paris. 210 galleries exhibited the work of 4,200 artists, with works prominently housed at the magnificent space within the ‘Grand Palais’ and at the ‘Cour Carrée du Louvre’ – the world famous museum known by all and visited by many.

I can assure you that seeing a series of paintings by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon in real life is pretty impressive, especially considering the way our AQUAPAX cartons seemed to blend so perfectly into their incredible surroundings, but my personal favourite was a piece of art created by Kader Attia. I saw this on my walk between the Grand Palais and the Louvre, where the outdoor projects in the Tuileries gardens were some of the most creative and large scale pieces on show.

Cymbales, tiges de bambous

The artist in question had created a work consisting of cymbals, installed slightly above water level in a large octagonal basin. The cymbals were all displayed in different angles, so each produced its own resonance, when affected by rain, wind, or indeed the sound of coins being thrown by enthusiastic visitors. The weather in Paris was spectacular for my visit, so I didn’t get to see how the rain impacted the piece, but I certainly ‘got it’ and to directly quote the artist ”Nature always transcends culture” – at least for me it does! leaf me alone i'm reflecting

The core sponsors for the FIAC event (for the past 4 years) have been the Galeries Lafayette, which has a common ambition as the FIAC, to promote creative energy and to see the whole city come to life for art. AQUAPAX at Galeries Lafayette1
AQUAPAX has recently partnered with Galeries Lafayette, which is why AQUAPAX was the water sponsor for all of the exhibitors during this magnificent art festival. Roll on 2010, especially if the weather is as wonderful as 2009. AQUAPAX at Galeries Lafayette2

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yours truly with the maestro Paul Rankin & his Aquapax

yours truly with the maestro Paul Rankin & his Aquapax

As always, there’s been a lot going on in Aquapax world over the past few weeks. It’s the silly season of shows at weekends and store samplings mid week, so taking a holiday has been the furthest thing from my mind, despite jovial e-mails from folk who read my blog wondering when I’m back.

We had a really successful 3 day Hatfield House Country Show this year, where the good fortune of being positioned next to Miles (the curry sauce man) certainly raised our sampling customer numbers. There was a special atmosphere in the Food Hall, as a few of us took turns at broadcasting the Ashes criscket score to visitors (and one another), causing spontaneous nervous laughter and the occassional ripple of applause. A particularly uplifting moment of the show was when an off duty representative of a well known supermarket engaged with me on why I created Aquapax, leading to an exchange of cards towards the end of the conversation… (watch this space)

The bank holiday weekend just gone was less illustrious, as we took a last minute stand in the Food Hall at the Stoneleigh Park Festival. The event has so much potential, but alas the Food Hall wasn’t laid out terribly well… Life is what we make of it, and in this instance, the time we had as ‘traders’ allowed us to get to know one another socially. The ‘Dunkirk spirit’ kicked in and the ‘celebrity chefs’ coordinated by the professionals at ‘chefs on stage’  were generous in their support of all the trade at the show, encouraging the public to engage and sample our wares. There are a lot worse ways to spend a bank holiday weekend and I’m grateful for the spontaneous social time ‘Neil waterguy’ spent with ‘Curry Sauce John’ & ‘Chocolate Heaven Lucy’.

Speaking of chefs, I met a wonderful Chef called Claire Harbron and get on with her like a lost friend. We’ve got a great alliance going with her and her fellow professionals at the dalston kitchen. They create the iconic ‘dk’ lunch boxes seen at the best photo shoots and outdoor events across town, where it’s a fantastic accolade they’ve chosen Aquapax as their water in the box! Kind of sums up their quality proposition really, which shouldn’t be any surprises for anyone who’s tried Aquapax.

Got a lot more web work to do in the coming weeks with my webtech friend Ian. We’ve discovered a typo on our French site (read carefully) and we also need to create a page for our new Dutch distribution alliance. Also want to plan the site development as the revolution is growing now and I really want to communicate that growth to keep our new recruits smilling. In the meanwhile, here’s something else to keep you smiling – our latest internet advertisement ‘the guillotine’ It’s all go in water world… 🙂

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Even this far down the road, I still meet a number of people who don’t get the Aquapax proposition and who sadly won’t allow however many seconds it would take to look at our pack design and fathom it out.

official Aquapax logo

official Aquapax logo

The proposition could be perceived as too complicated I suppose, so I keep on trying to simplify my pitch description to capture the essence of what Aquapax is in however many milli seconds people give me.
Current soundbites embrace: “It’s one of the purest mineral water’s in the world – even suitable for infants!” or “It’s pure mineral water sealed airtight and protected from light which keeps it tasting fresh!” or “It’s premium quality natural mineral water in the lowest carbon impact package option on the planet!” or “It’s pure portable water in a leach free re-usable package!” or “I’m an environmentalist and hate plastic – this is my answer to the scourge of plastic bottled water!” or “We won best bottled water of 2008 and it’s not even in a bottle!” or “It’s natural mineral water in a carton, so it stays colder for longer and you can re-fill it when it’s empty!”… there’s more, but I’m sure you get the idea.
While all the soundbites are true, as a brutally honest lady told me earlier today, they’re clearly not breaking through at the level of the masses, where sensational news or celebrity association or selling through years of advertising propaganda are what’s actually piercing the public’s earplugged consciousness. (she didn’t say the bit about ear plugged consciousness – that was me trying to paint a picture of an ignoramous.)
I clearly need to spend some time pondering how to get our marketing message simplified further, to help the mainstream get it.  I don’t honestly believe our premium quality natural mineral water in a paper carton will ever appeal to the entire mainstream, but if anyone has any enlightenment to share, I’m open minded and I promise to give you as much time as you need to convince me – within reason… 🙂

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