Jesse Leeworthy combined his passion for design and the environment to develop a unique water bottle
“I was fortunate enough to find myself in a degree that resonated with my passions. Of course this was always the plan, but it wasn’t until I stepped into the first class of Product Design Engineering at Swinburne that I knew I was in the right place.
Product Design Engineering (PDE) was challenging and rewarding on many levels. It not only gave me a solid grounding in engineering and design – it also taught me how to think, frame a problem and provide a solution. The methods I learnt during my time at Swinburne are the basis of how I approach every work day.
Swinburne alum and Memobottle co-founder, Jesse Leeworthy
One of the outstanding opportunities that Swinburne offer is Work Integrated Learning. I was lucky enough to head to Changzhou in China, and work for a product design firm for six months. It was fast paced, intense and an incredible learning curve. This experience set me up for the rest of my degree.
PDE and especially my honours year at Swinburne set me up for a three-and-a-half year job at Tricycle Developments, a technical product design engineering consultancy in West Melbourne. Co-Directors Andrew Crawford and Mathew Trainer (both Swinburne PDE alumni) took me under their wing and helped me build on the foundations from my time at Swinburne.
Engineering and design are the major components of PDE, but the course structure is not limited to these areas – there are lots of really interesting units. Product design engineering provided me with a grounding in marketing, user-centred design and systems, management and especially a good work ethic. I enjoyed these years so much that I was honoured to be invited back to Swinburne as a sessional lecturer.
I've always had an interest in finding a solution to the environmental problem created by single-use water bottles. I started looking at design solutions with my friend Jonathon Byrt. We were fed up with the number of single-use bottles being used and discarded each day and the environmental impact that this was creating.
We knew the only way we could make a real, positive change was to provide a more convenient option. I went to work on designs and produced some prototypes for a slim, reusable water bottle so we could test its functionality.
In August 2014, after months of preparation, we launched the memobottle on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. With a target goal of $15,000, we were fortunate enough to receive support from 6,118 backers and over $261,000 in funding.
The slim and convenient design of the memobottle and the environmental stance that our brand took against single-use water bottles clearly resonated with people.
"Memobottle has the ability to change people's mentality around how water can be consumed."