Water with a Heart

Megan Hayes & Kimberly Reilly talk the realization of creating a totally different water brand as their path to impact

How did Everybody Water begin?

We met first as friends and neighbors and realized over time we had a shared dream to shift our careers and create a business that would make a huge impact for women and girls globally.  Megan had grown up overseas as an expat and saw girls walking for water all day. She had her own recruiting company at the time and Kimberly was an entrepreneur who had created her own high-end lighting design company. Neither of us had worked in the food or beverage space and certainly knew nothing about selling water! However, we felt passionate that one of the most powerful ways to advance women and girls in developing countries would be by funding high-quality water and sanitation infrastructure projects that bring running water, a sink, shower and toilet directly into homes to free them from collecting water. Instead, they have time to attend school, earn incomes and thrive.  We spent much time identifying, Water1st International, a high-quality non-profit organization working in the water development space.  They allowed us to travel with them to Honduras and Bangladesh to witness the need and ongoing projects at every stage.

It took us over two years to research the most sustainable form of packaging, obtain permits and develop our brand identity before launching in 2019.  We had to place a minimum order of five tractor-trailer loads of water and we didn’t even have a customer or distributor to help with deliveries or sales. The two of us began filling up our cars and knocking on doors! The idea immediately clicked with so many forward-thinking businesses. We soon had attention from the press and interest from luxury hospitality and large corporations who saw the opportunity Everybody Water could offer them to eliminate plastic water bottles while giving-back and sharing an inspiring story of real impact.

What makes your product unique?

Everybody Water is much more than water. It’s a refreshing, premium water and people love the taste but it’s also a statement and platform that highlights a commitment to supporting not only more sustainable initiatives but a mission that uplifts women and girls globally, including support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for Clean Water and Sanitation for All and Gender Equality, as well as the support of women-owned business.

How does the company give back?

Everybody Water is committed to giving 3% of gross revenues to its non-profit partner Water1st International.  These projects are complete, sustainable water and sanitation projects that bring a shower, sink and toilet into people’s homes for the first time, dramatically impacting communities and transforming the lives of women and girls.  These high-quality projects are not the kinds of band-aid solutions that are most common, such as community wells and pumps that often fail after a couple of years, but rather permanent and comprehensive solutions that include household connections that change the trajectory for women and girls.  In addition to ending this brutally time-consuming, physically burdensome and often dangerous task, the projects themselves are designed to be led and run by local communities, so that they may learn to run and maintain them over time and become stronger in their organization. To date, we have funded projects in Honduras and are planning on more upcoming projects there, as well as in communities in Bangladesh and Kenya. 

Where can consumers find Everybody Water?

Our largest presence is in New England and Colorado in communities like Aspen, Vail and Denver.  We are expanding into other cities nationwide.  You will find us given out as an amenity in luxury and boutique hotels, fashion retailers, private aviation, events, and in corporate offices.  The Greenwich community has been wonderful and we have a presence in great eateries like Aux Delices, the Granola Bar and Mike’s Organic.

Describe your connection to the community.

Co-founder Megan Hayes was actually born in Greenwich before her family moved overseas!  Our other co-founder Kimberly Reilly spent lots of time working in the area while pursuing her career in design and living in New York City.  And our Director of Business Development, Nicole Arnold, raised her two young boys in Greenwich before relocating up to the Boston area.  The community is filled with dynamic people who can relate to the impact we aim to achieve and many people are approaching us about bringing Everybody Water into their own businesses in some way. 

What’s the best part of your job?

Besides the satisfaction of seeing water projects completed and knowing that lives are forever changed, the most fulfilling part of our days is in building a community of top businesses here at home that want to be a part of Everybody Water.  Megan and I took a leap of faith that people would connect with our idea, so seeing it resonate with the world’s best businesses who want to make a statement in the water they choose has been humbling and exciting.  We’ve proven the idea and now there is no limit to what is possible.

We felt it was pretty clear that everybody should want everybody to have clean running water in their home.  “everybody WATER.” is that statement.  We believed that we could offer something simple that people use every day and that collectively we could make amazing change happen.  We plan to grow our presence nationally expanding with strong business partners who are committed to improving the lives of women and girls. 

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