A S'well Story of Female Entrepreneurship

Female Entrepreneurship
The beauty of florals on a sleek S'well bottle helps make the water bottle a fashion accessory. 

Sleek. Beautiful. Functional. It’s the unexpected fashion accessory that changed an industry while also helping the environment. 

Seeing only wasteful plastic bottles and the clunkier options available for sports, S’well founder Sarah Kauss saw an opportunity to offer a chic and functional alternative. With $30,000 from her savings account and a can-do attitude. Sarah embarked on a journey in 2010 that would result in a brand with global reach by the year 2015. 

Female Entrepreneurship
Founder Sarah Kauss with an array of bottle prints, including the famous Liberty of London florals.

Sarah envisioned a bottle that would be beautiful to carry, while also keeping drinks hot or cold. Along the way she heard “no,” encountered disbelief and learned to brush off the misguided concerns of others. How could a woman with a stable corporate position as an accountant leave the safety of the corporate world in order to make water bottles? Who even needed another water bottle? 

As crazy as it may have sounded at the time, Sarah took the risk to give herself and her idea a chance. 

With just herself and an apartment full of water bottles, Sarah worked to get the business off the ground. She pounded the pavement, taking her bottles to stores with a sales pitch and product demonstration to win over the owners and get her product on the shelf. But sales didn’t stop there. S’well bottles were soon found in other places like Starbucks stores and at Tedx conferences. 

By 2015, sales were up 370% to $47 million and S’well was the year’s fastest growing woman-owned business in America. Talk about an amazing return on investment after starting solo and with only $30,000!

Even as growth continued, S’well remained true to its mission of helping make the world more beautiful. And this includes bringing clean water to all. S’well donates to environmental research and has donated nearly $1 million to UNICEF to bring clean water access to Madagascar. That’s something worth sipping on. 

Female Entrepreneurship Quote

Thanks to S’well, the water bottle has been elevated from mere function to an art form. With a variety of designs and collaborations with brands like Lilly Pulitzer and Liberty of London, the bottles have become an accessory rather than an object of mere necessity. From the boardroom to the beach, S’well helps you keep thirst at bay in style. 

One woman...one idea...one bottle that has changed the way we drink. The story of Sarah and the S’well brand shows the power of a woman with a vision and the determination to see it through.

Image Source
Original Images of Sarah Kauss & S'well Bottles via Instagram @swellbottle

Sources and Further Reading 
1. How I Built This with S'well Founder Sarah Kauss 
2. Forbes “Why S’well Bottle Founder Sarah Kauss is one of America's Most Successful Self-Made Women”