It all started with an idea on a sketch pad. Four years later, memobottle is a multi-million dollar company challenging one of the world’s biggest environmental issues. To top it off, on Monday 29 February, memobottle will be included in the 2016 Oscar Awards gift bags, given to all Oscar award nominees.
memobottle co-founder Jesse Leeworthy studied a Bachelor of Engineering (Product Design) Honours at Swinburne. It was during his four year course that he got to explore the issues of single-use water bottles.
Growing up in a coastal Victorian town, Jesse noticed an increase in the number of plastic water bottles that washed ashore.
Image: memobottle co-founder Jesse Leeworthy
“My passion for the environment and sustainable practices has always been a key part of my life, so I jumped at the opportunity to spend my honours year researching, evaluating and developing a solution to the problem,” Jesse says.
Although Jesse came up with some good ideas, upon completing his degree he began working at Tricycle Developments, a technical product design engineering consultancy. It wasn’t until several years later that Jesse decided to pursue the water bottle issue again, with friend Jonathan Byrt.
“To really break people’s habits around single-use drink bottles, we knew we had to offer something that was truly convenient, beautiful and sustainable in design.
“Round bottles just didn’t fit with our modern lives. So we decided to flip the equation.”
Image: The slim design of memobottle allows it to easily fit into bags
The idea for a premium, re-usable, flat water bottle resembling the shape of a piece of paper was born. Fittingly named memobottle, the bottles were designed around international paper sizes.
In August 2014, after months of preparation, memobottle was launched on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. With a target goal of $15,000, the 45 day Kickstarter campaign received more than $261,000 in funding.
The influx of support showed that the slim and convenient design of the bottle was what people wanted.
Image: memobottles are based on international paper sizes
“From the moment we decided to launch memobottle and define what we actually stood for, Jonathan and I have been based in different countries. I was in Melbourne and he was in San Diego, California.
“We decided we did not want our own warehouse, shopfront or even office. Instead we have opted to create a purely online, automated business.
“Because we are not location specific, we are constantly travelling the world meeting customers and suppliers, while seeing different parts of the world. At the moment we are deep within the Arctic Circle on a photoshoot while managing a marketing campaign for the 2016 Oscar gift bags. It has been a very exciting 18 months!”
Purchase your own memobottle.