Reusable Plant-based Water Bottles with a Pretty ‘S’wheat’ Design!
It may be ‘micro’, but this business has already made a big impact.
With a mission to reduce the world’s plastic bottle pollution, couple Amee Ritchie and Jake Elliott-Hook have spent the last four years growing their microbusiness S’wheat, the first reusable water bottle made from plants.
What initially seemed like a saturated market, was clearly a category that was lacking; with reusable water bottles often having a metallic taste, breaking easily once dropped or smelling with a lack of cleaning capability.
Having started the business in the final years of his psychology and sociology degree, Jake’s original bottle wasn’t always the durable and practical design it is now, originally made from glass, both a weak and heavy material.
But plastic and steel were also not options, due to the health and environmental impacts of using plastic and the energy-intensive manufacturing process required to make steel.
These were the very reasons his classmates would regularly turn up with a new reusable water bottle every few weeks, defeating the purpose of it being ‘reusable’, with bottles inevitably ending up in landfills or the wrong recycling stream.
Now, together the couple has created an award-winning water bottle that truly fulfils its purpose as ‘reusable’, one that is sustainable and beats the functionality of many of the water bottles on the market.
Made purely from Wheat stalks and Bamboo, the Scotland-based social enterprise only uses waste by-products in the UK that would have otherwise been burnt, but the do good doesn’t stop there.
For every water bottle purchased, S’wheat will plant a trackable native tree in your business’s name while removing 450 ocean-bound plastics from our seas!
Your trackable tree will tell you the species, where it has been planted, as well as other interesting facts about its positive impact.
It is no wonder the business has featured in major media, from Vogue and The Guardian to its TV debut on Channel 4.
But without its crowd-funding campaign, S’wheat may not have made it onto our desks at all.
Dedicating all their efforts to the business after university, the couple needed a boost of funding to produce a product they truly believed would leave the planet in a better place.
Grabbing the hearts of many, they managed to raise a whopping £22,000, doubling their original £10,000 goal in just 30 days with a promise to provide everyone who donated with a water bottle once it had been manufactured.
The stressful 30 days were fundamental to the success of this microbusiness which then managed to grow organically within the consumer space thanks to the power of social media.
Now with hopes to work closely with other businesses that share similar CSR objectives, S’wheat is working with a wide range of organisations from assets management and finance companies to whiskey businesses, including big names such as Barclays Bank, Google, and The English National Opera.
The launch of their co-branding in late 2019 was certainly well-loved amongst businesses in Europe and the US for events, welcome and onboarding packs, as well as staff gifts, causing the business to quickly sell out of their bottles at Christmas.
Their co-branding options mean businesses can customise their bottles with a branded coloured bottle, packaging, colour printed logo or high-quality logo laser engraving in just 11 days.
This is a simple yet effective way for companies to show their sustainability commitment with an impact report which showcases exactly how many trees they planted, ocean-bound plastic they’ve removed, and carbon emissions they’ve offset.
The fact the business is already outgrowing its premises and hiring new staff proves that you don’t always need a background in business to launch a successful microbusiness!
Explore the range of S’wheat plant-based water bottles on the Lyreco Webshop.
About The Lyreco Goodness Supplier Support Programme:
The programme supports ambitious microbusinesses & social enterprises in the UK and Ireland motivated by a greater societal purpose. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on many microbusinesses & social enterprises, in turn affecting employment and the resilience of communities. As an essential component of the UK and Ireland economy, Lyreco’s programme aims to provide microbusinesses & social enterprises with the support and resources needed to empower them to thrive in the post-pandemic economy with a 12-month package valued at £25,000/ €29,000.