The power of using design to elevate your product or service above the competition

Want to read an inspirational design story? Check out this article on water bottle designer Sarah Kauss, CEO of S’Well.

S’Well make water bottles. Which conjures up an image like this:

And then (if you care about the environment) you leap to this:

plastic waste shown on beach

But Sarah wanted to create a re-usable bottle that wouldn’t be thrown away. It had to function brilliantly too; keep drinks hot or cold, not condensate in her hand bag, and be easy to pour. A thermos really.

thermos bottleI’m not sure why at this stage Sarah didn’t go buy a thermos.

But that would ruin a good story.

Sarah decided one more factor was important in her search for a great water bottle. It had to look good too.

And so armed with that brief, she designed a sexy looking water bottle, went to a trade show, took some orders and sat back. Until one supplier asked to see different colours. The eureka moment for Sarah was introducing design, not just a blue / red / orange option to the range.

Now S’well bottles come in limited editions and the range is refreshed twice a year. Acting like a fashion house, she has introduced scarcity into her products making them even more desirable. The bottles look like this now:

swell colourful water bottles

S’well bottles are now sold in nearly 3000 stores and turnover was $100mUSD last year in just 6 years of trading. The range is expanding into other types of bottles and Sarah aims to ‘dominate’ the huge water industry. She’s even encouraged ancillary companies like this etsy seller who will further customise your bottle.

Doing the same thing as everyone else is will never make you more successful than them. Do something different, treat design as your secret weapon and build it into everything you do and your products and services will be valued on a higher plane than others.