June 16th, 2021
There is nothing worse than pulling out your water bottle in the hope of a cooling refreshment to be met with a sip of lukewarm water. It’s not refreshing, it doesn’t quench your thirst and it often results in you going out and buying yet another plastic bottle that you and the planet really don’t need. That’s where Chilly’s come in and it was this exact lukewarm water experience that led to the inception of the brand.
Rewind to 2010 and James Butterfield, one of the founding members of Chilly’s, was in his final year of university. Liking his water ice-cold, James was tired of constantly having to buy plastic bottles whenever he wanted cold water.
“You would take a bottle out with you and it would be warm in a very short time. The only alternative was to go to a shop and spend money on a single-use plastic one”. Spotting the demand for consumers to always have cold water on the go, without having to buy single-use plastic water bottles, James started working with a supplier to try and solve this issue.
Fast forward through a lot of thinking and developing and say hello to the new reusable water bottle that Chilly’s have now become synonymous with. Made from stainless steel to stop the flavour of the contents being tainted; and a double-walled vacuum chamber that thermally insulates them, the technology keeps your cold drinks cold for 24 hours and your hot drinks hot for 12 hours. Hence the name, the contents stay either chilly or hot like a chilli pepper.
After graduating, James began selling the bottles alongside his full time job in digital marketing, where he met his co-founder, Tim Bouscarle. Together they secured £9,000 from a crowdfunding platform and then in 2015 they redesigned their website and changed their advertising and marketing strategy to be much more social media led. They haven’t looked back since.
In just one year sales grew by 815% to £556,000 and two years later Chilly’s Bottles featured in the Fast Track Ones to Watch. However just featuring in it wasn’t enough, they have since gone on to top the Fast Track 100 league table beating the likes of BrewDog, Gymshark and Honest, growing from a two-person team with sales of £11.9m, to a 15-strong company hitting £31.5m (2019).
Going on to become a serious style statement on everyone’s office desk, Chillys hasn’t just answered our lukewarm water needs. With fewer than 10% of the billions of plastic products made each year actually being recycled, Chilly’s also helps tackle our very serious plastic problem. Many small actions can make a big difference, so although you may think buying a bottle of water here and there won’t make a big difference, it all adds up. James says, “our goal is to make products people love so much they don’t want to use single use stuff anymore”.
Helping the planet doesn’t just stop there either. They have partnered up with environmental organisation City To Sea on their award-winning Refill campaign, to help people live with less plastic. By donating £10 from every Refill X Chilly’s product bought, their partnership has helped Refill stop over 100 million plastic bottles from entering our waste stream.
To ensure they don’t add to waste, they also offer the ‘Refreshed Scheme’ which allows customers that no longer need their Chilly bottle to return them for free so they can be recycled and given a new lease of life.
Cultural attitudes have changed so much over the last few years, with consumers becoming more aware of their environmental footprint, it’s no wonder Chilly’s has become so successful. They have answered a very serious need, truly listened to what their customers want and have kept their finger on the pulse of what is going on in society.
Now, not only do they offer two styles of water bottles in a whole range of different colours and patterns, collaborating with different artists, but they also offer coffee cups, food pots and accessories.
Chilly’s mission is to accelerate the adoption and everyday use of reusable products, and that they certainly have done and continue to do. There’s no more disheveled and reused Evian bottles to be seen anywhere, but instead the super slick, never-let-you-down Chilly bottles which are here to stay, helping us combat the war on plastic.
They have helped people change their habits whilst not sacrificing on the quality of the products. Modern, stylish and with unrivalled performance, Chilly’s has made reusable water bottles desirable again.
Written by Daisy Rogers, Head of Copy and Content, Hatched.
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