860
10 min 36 sec

Friends Build Water Filtration Systems for Outdoor Hydration

Two friends create water purification systems that save drinkers from foul chemicals—and save the planet from disposable bottles.
Crowdfunding Manufacturing Product Sustainability

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What It's About

Two friends do their part to reduce the use of plastic.

Business Model
Manufacturing
Skills Required
Product Development & Marketing
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Tyler and Doogie's approach was simply to start building the product they had in their sights, and they advise others in similar situations to consider that counsel. When their first Guzzle versions were done, they were unhesitatingly honest about determining which parts and features were working to make the user experience better, and which parts were adding costs and not contributing to the consumer experience.

Fun Fact

Water is precious stuff: Nearly 97% of the world's water is salty or otherwise undrinkable. But it’s been hanging in there—there is essentially the same amount of water on Earth as there was when the Earth was formed. The water from your faucet could contain molecules that dinosaurs drank (we all hope they flossed).

Notes from Chris

Episode 860
Water is as basic a need as we humans have—we can’t get enough of the stuff. But especially in the great outdoors, sometimes the water that’s available has a funky smell, a stale taste, or even contaminants that might do us in. Tyler Bech and Sean “Doogie” Couvreux realized that people who spend a great deal of time outside not only drink lots of water—but also that their water sources needed improved.

With Tyler and Doogie’s Guzzle H2O system, water on the run is now safe, fresh, and even ecological.

Friends in Hood River, Oregon since 2004, the two often rode bikes and sailed together. Doogie is a professional sailboat racer, and he noticed that the large teams on the boats went through lots of plastic water bottles during their long trainings and competitions. He knew that some of those bottles ended up in the ocean, a blight on the environment. He also knew that marina water often tasted suspect, so filling reusable bottles wasn’t the best solution.

Tyler, who builds parts for unmanned aircraft cameras, had the technical savvy to work on a solution for the water problems Doogie saw out on the surf: a portable water purifier, adaptable to various recreational needs. In a garage-style workshop in early 2018, they began on the design and some prototype devices, going from several iterations first in cooler bags and then backpacks, while eliminating a lot of non-essential parts.

The Spigot version of Guzzle H20 was the first result: a lightweight device that can connect to a water tap at a park, campground, marina, or anywhere water is available. The Spigot pulls out chlorine and chemical contaminants with a carbon block filter and purifies the water with LED UV-C purification technology.

Hook it up, turn on the tap, and freely fill containers. The partners estimate that using a Spigot instead of single-use plastic water bottles eliminates 700 pounds of plastic on just the first maintenance cycle of the filter.

So far they’ve sold 50 systems, bringing in $32,000, around $18,000 of which is profit. This profit has gone back into buying inventory, marketing, and tools for improving production.

Their first true customers were a New Zealand group that was putting on a professional level sailing event in foiling catamarans. They paid $1,000 for the system, prompting Tyler to celebrate with an Oregon IPA after shipping it out. Not all drinking has to involve water.

Their uncompromised products are now used in parks, campgrounds, and of course on the water. They’ll be exhibiting this summer at the Overland Expo in Flagstaff, Arizona for the overland driving community, the folks who travel on backroads in remote areas where good water might be scarce. No recreation ventures should involve water with contaminants, chemicals, viruses or bacteria—the Guzzlers have solutions for all that.

In the meantime, know that water makes up a full 70% of our body mass—we’re literally made of it. Everything comes down to water!

 
 
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Guzzle H2O: Drink up more about this side hustle over on Doogie and Tyler's website!

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"If you want to sell a product, just start building what you think the product should be. When it is done, and you see people using it, honestly consider which features are working to make the users experience better and which are adding cost without contributing to the end user experience. Then make changes, and build again."
—Tyler Bech & Doogie Couvreux #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau