Thinking Outside the Bot
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010
While searching for a healthy, tasty beverage with a modern vibe, husband and wife duo Brian '90 and Cricket '92 Allen were shocked by the lack of products made without artificial sweeteners, flavoring, dyes or high sugar content.
"We were looking for a delicious and healthy beverage for ourselves and our twin daughters," says Brian. "Plain water is great but it gets boring. As we searched, we noticed a real void in the market for a beverage that was more appealing and functional than water but without excessive sugar or artificial sweetener. A heavy hand in ingredients does not necessarily yield a great product or taste."
So, Brian and Cricket left the worlds of film and marketing to embark on an entrepreneurial adventure: create a beverage they'd be proud to give their daughters and drink themselves. They set up shop in their home in Lawrenceville, N.J., and BOT Water, an all-natural, low-sugar enhanced water, was born.
With only 25 calories per serving, BOT Water contains vitamins B3, B6, B5 and B12 as well as antioxidants and electrolytes. Sweetened with pure cane sugar, the flavored water contains no preservatives and comes in four flavors - orange, lemon, berry and grape. And BOT is clear, like nature intended water to be.
"BOT does not present any false promises. It won't make you calmer, skinnier or sexier, but it is a healthy beverage that tastes great," says Brian. "We can confidently say, once you try it, you will like it."
With support from investors like Pete Buck '81 and Tom Connor '81, the Allens received the financial funding to get BOT off the ground, onto the shelves of grocery stores, and into the hands of similarly health-conscious people.
"What I find so incredible is that while HWS is small in size, we have a vast network of alumni we have worked with who have offered an incredible array of help to propel us and the company," says Cricket. "Not only were Pete and Tom our catalysts, but they continue to be mentors and align us with opportunities. Brian and I are fortunate to be backed by such a passionate and strong network of alumni."
"Our alumni network has been very good to us," adds Brian, who worked closely with Vice President of Enrollment Management and Dean of Admissions Bob Murphy and Director of Alumni Relations Jared Weeden'91 to foster a support network from other alums. "We want to stay involved with this community."
The couple also partnered with Jonathan Schoenberg '90 of TDA Advertising and Design, who helped the couple create a fun, whimsical aesthetic for the product. Each flavor has its own personality ... and its own personable character on the bottle like berrybot and lemonbot.
"The great thing about the packaging is that it's approachable, fun and unique," adds Brian. "It goes to show that healthy food doesn't have to be wrapped in a brown paper bag and taste like bark. We were fortunate to have Schoenie work with us as he has an accomplished portfolio of successful brands, including Crocs and Izze Sparkling Juice, which sold to Pepsi-Co."
This summer, the Allens brought their entrepreneurial spirit - and their delicious creation - to Reunion 2010, along with the "Bot Mobile," a "colorful, souped-up promotional vehicle that should have wings," as Cricket says. The car, donated by Buck, has been BOT's best marketing tool to date.
"For both me and Cricket, BOT is a culmination of our personal and professional experience," says Brian. "Our HWS experiences have given us the tools, network and confidence to try things outside the box."
Curious about Bot Water? Look for it in Wegmans, Shaws, Whole Foods or on Amazon.com. Visit www.botbeverages.com for more information.