In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn, Swyft Filings launched the Swyft Gives Back Grant Program in which we awarded grants to five of our small business and nonprofit customers. The program was a huge success, and we were able to help out some extremely deserving recipients.
Even better, it turns out that goodwill is contagious. Inspired by our success, our partner company, Trademark Engine, started its own grant giveaway. One of their grant recipients was 1For1 Water.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 800,000 million people worldwide lack easy access to clean, drinkable water. CDC data also shows that 35% of the world's population, 2.5 billion people, don't have access to improved sanitation. The vast majority of these people live in developing nations, particularly rural areas.
This is where 1For1 Water comes in. 1For1 Water sells natural spring water in eco-friendly, biodegradable bottles. For every bottle bought, they donate one liter of clean, sustainable drinking water to people in desperate need — one for one. The company also devotes time, money, and resources to digging wells in developing rural communities.
Most of 1for1's sales come from coffee shops and restaurants, and quarantine has depleted their monthly revenue. Despite this setback, 1for1 still works to empower compassionate people to positively impact the global water crisis.
Today, we shine a spotlight on 1For1 Water and its founder John Winslow, as we discuss how to turn a random idea into a life-saving organization.
Tell us a little about your background and how you started 1For1.
I was a firefighter for nearly 20 years. I've always been passionate about trying to make a difference and leaving this world just a little better than we found it.
One day, I was just driving down the road, drinking a bottle of water, and I thought, "If Warby Parker can give away a pair of glasses for each pair they sell, and TOMS can give a pair of shoes, why couldn't we do it with water?"
I figured if it was a good idea, someone would have done it already, but the concept kept me awake for the next several nights. Finally, I started contacting bottlers and distributors, thinking I would prove to myself that it was a bad idea so I could get some sleep. Well, as you have probably guessed, it turns out it's a really solid idea. The numbers worked.
It was very important to me that 1For1 Water have legs to stand on, so I found one of the best-tasting alkaline spring waters in the world.
We are all responsible for this planet, so I searched until I found the best solution for packaging. Our bio-polymer bottle is both recyclable and biodegradable. We are priced competitively with the other premium waters on the market.
What is your mission?
Our mission is "empowering compassionate people to have an impact on the global water crisis, every day." It's at the heart and core of everything we do. To accomplish this, we support nonprofit organizations that help communities all over the world.
What's something most people don't know about the world's water crisis?
Through this project, I've learned so much about the global water crisis. Probably the biggest thing is the secondary impacts of a well in a community.
Usually, the mother and daughters gather water. They can spend six to eight hours every day walking to the source. Not only is this water usually unsafe to drink, they are also subjected to extreme danger along the road from both animal and human predators.
When a well is drilled in a community, they now have clean water. They can safely gather enough water for the family in minutes, not hours. The mother can garden or work in the home, the daughters can go to school. The sons, who typically go to work with their fathers, can now go to school because of the mother's income.
Clean water and sanitation are the keys to unlock the chains of poverty in the third world.
What have been 1for1's greatest challenges?
As with any start-up, the biggest challenge is money. Launching a national beverage brand is all-consuming and requires a lot of funding.
COVID-19 has also presented some real challenges that lots of us are struggling to overcome. It's drastically impacted our manufacturing process. Shortages in bottling materials and manpower meant we couldn't produce 1-liter bottles.
Fortunately, the outcome was very positive. After searching everywhere, I found another bottler who could provide a better product at a lower cost!
What are 1For1's biggest wins so far?
We launched on November 1, 2019, and immediately funded a well in Bihanga, Uganda. Because of 1For1 Water, 545 people have clean water today.
We have also funded 15 bucket filters with VillageWorx, one of our nonprofit partners, so there are 15 families in Zimbabwe that have clean water as well.
One of the representatives from Living Water International sent this pic from Bihanga. She said, "This child's generation will never know the struggles of lack of clean water."
I cherish this picture.
What are the future plans for 1For1?
The majority of our business is driven by sales of individual bottles in coffee shops and restaurants. As you can guess, COVID has caused a significant slowdown in our monthly revenue.
Due to this, we are shifting our focus to create an online store and set up fulfillment agreements with Amazon and other store platforms. I also want people to know that they can now buy 1For1 Water and have it delivered right to their door!
Our goal is to become a major brand. In 2021, the bottled water industry is estimated to hit $2.5 billion in annual revenue. If we can capture just one-fourth of 1% of that market, we can fund a new well every day.
What can readers do to help?
Visit our website. Support the amazing nonprofits there. Look for 1For1 Water whenever you buy bottled water. I know I can't save the world, but together, we can. --
When we hear about the terrible consequences of the world water crisis, we all want to help, but it can be hard knowing where to start. Companies like 1For1 Water make it easy to make conscious choices that actually benefit your fellow humans. Every drop in the bucket helps. Thank you, John, for helping us make a difference.