We recently had the opportunity to connect with Tom, CEO and Co-Founder of hellowater®, but Tom is only one half of the hellowater® team. Enter Rusty Jones, CSO and Co-Founder of hellowater®. Keep reading for our personal interview with Rusty.
Where were you when you first got the idea to launch hellowater®? Do you remember the initial spark that started this movement?
Rusty: I remember the exact moment the hellowater® brand came to mind. It was back in October 2016 after Tom and I had decided we were going to focus on building the next generation of beverage brands, but I knew we had to think differently.
I had just finished reading the book When They Zig, You Zag and was inspired to create a lifestyle brand that connected with people by sharing positivity. Knowing the marketing world was moving quickly towards the digital space with the customer journey, influencers, and SEO, I took to Twitter to listen to what people were saying about their state of health. It didn’t take long before I started to see a common theme develop among different conversations.
“I am done with the cookies. I am done with Pepsi. I am done with the alcohol. I am done with the sugar. #hellowater.”
We all have that one moment when we want to focus more on our health and wellness. And the one fundamental pillar of a healthful lifestyle is simple – water. The phrase, “A simple hello could lead to a million things,” stuck out in my head and that is when I realized hellowater® was the perfect brand name.
Walking the grocery store aisles, I looked at beverage shelves and noticed how cluttered and noisy it was. Everything looked the same. Brand logo + fruit + round bottle. Repeat. I revisited the social media landscape again knowing we wanted to create a lifestyle brand that promoted positivity. I decided to zag in the branding space and focused more on customer emotions.
During this time, the top hashtags on Instagram were words of affirmation that jumped off the screen. Words like DANCE, LAUGH, LIVE, LOVE, SING, SMILE, and VIBE. Zagging again, I made a hierarchy of the label to highlight the positive words, while simultaneously making the brand less of a focus. Similar to when a band wears all black when they are performing at a concert so the audience can focus strictly on the music, not the musicians or their fashion choices.
With a brand name that was created from real-life conversations about health and wellness matched with a mission to inspire, our brand mantra was born: INSPIRE. HEALTH.
What were some of the driving forces that brought hellowater® from discussion to creation?
Rusty: What really drove the belief in the functionality of a prebiotic infused beverage was the research on fiber and the benefits it provides our bodies and our overall health. Through our research, we discovered 97% of Americans were not getting enough fiber intake in their daily diets and regular routines. This made us realize that there was an opportunity to evolve this category and take it from the pharmacy aisle, an aisle that had been stagnant for decades, and bring it to the forefront of the bottled beverage aisle.
As we continued our research, we learned more about the staggering statistics surrounding obesity rates, making our resolve in our mission even stronger. We discussed how we could be a solution to the obesity epidemic here in America. We even had the audacity to declare we could be a piece of the puzzle that eliminated this disease entirely simply by removing sugar from bottled beverages.
What about hellowater® brings you the most joy?
Rusty: One of the many things that bring me joy about hellowater® is being able to share moments with our family, friends, and team. When our close friends or family members share a social media post or rock a hellowater® hoodie, it just makes me SMILE! The hellowater® success is only possible because of the people who surround us daily with constant love, loyalty, and support.
What is the most memorable experience you have had since you launched hellowater®?
Rusty: Every day is a memorable experience working on hellowater®, but I will say the day my son Palmer saw hellowater® on the shelf at the grocery store and took a picture next to it was something I’ll cherish forever. His SMILE was another reminder as to why I do this every day.
Tell us about your background. What did you do before creating hellowater®?
Rusty: I have been fortunate to help build some very successful beverage brands before launching hellowater®. This time, I got to see a brand come to life, starting in my mind and ending up on store shelves – which has been pretty amazing to witness.
If you could describe the core mission of hellowater® in just a few sentences, what would it be?
Rusty: Our mission here at hellowater® is simple. Inspire. Health. Promoting positivity and creating products that have true efficacy to enrich the lives of consumers.
Tell us about your relationship with the hellowater® community. Has hellowater®’s popularity taken you by surprise?
Rusty: Building the hellowater® community has by far been the best part of the journey. Hearing testimony after testimony about how hellowater® has made such a positive impact on the lives of others, like Sally and Simone, among so many others, is beyond humbling. When we first started hellowater®, we had no idea how big of an impact we would be making on the happiness, health, and lives of others. We are excited to see the hellowater® community continue to grow and expand.
Tell us about the defense and alkaline lines. What impresses you most about them?
Rusty: We are beyond proud of the entire hellowater® portfolio. Hellowater® Defense has such a unique proposition and we believe will be truly revolutionary.
Our community loves our functional flavored beverages, but they really wanted high-quality non-flavored water as well. This inspired us to create hellowater® alkaline water. We’re also proud to be hydrating JR Motorsports race teams with our alkaline line.
Lastly – what is your favorite hellowater® flavor?
Rusty: DANCE – Orange Mango! It is my go-to bottled beverage for Sunday brunch. Top it off with champagne and enjoy!