My name is Chris Sanborn and I’m the cofounder of Alive Water. We offer spring water delivery in reusable glass and tools for people to collect their own.
At the time of writing, we provide ongoing delivery to 1,342 homes and businesses in the state of California.
I’m also the director of The Find A Spring Foundation, which is a community-generated database of cold and hot springs all over the planet. FindASpring.Com is a place where people can go to locate fresh living spring water, and share resources to help others do the same.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
In 2014 Daniel Vitalis introduced me to the benefits of collecting your own water. He started Find A Spring as a tool for people in 2010 with the help of Leighlon Anderson.
Through independent research, I became aware that all bottled water was being processed for cheaper transportation and shelf stability. This destroys healthy microbes our bodies thrive from. It’s similar to how juice and dairy companies pasteurize to cut costs. More and more people are now starting to realize the fact that fresh juice and raw dairy have more probiotics and health benefits.
Think about the future you’d like to see and don’t stop until its reality.
I was living in Topanga Canyon near Los Angeles and the closest good drinking spring I found was 3 hours away from me at a place called Big Bear mountain. It wasn’t a short trip, but it just didn’t make sense to keep compromising my health. That first time I tasted fresh ice-cold mountain spring water I started to feel healthier right away. I felt a deep peace come over me, and it was a powerful gift to experience the way our ancestors had experienced a deeper connection with nature.
I realized how valuable fresh spring water is and wanted to share it with more people. I started providing it to my local community and more and more people wanted access. It started as a part-time endeavor and at the time I was also working in the solar power construction business. I met the company's co-founder Ara Bedian while working together, and realized how intelligent and dedicated he was. His support and contributions are one of the main reasons we have been so successful. It’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off of, and I’m grateful to have such an epic human as my business partner.
Lots of other people have supported the vision along the way. Monica Lee and Kexnia Yawanawa were some of the first allies that would come up to the snowy mountains to collect with me. Of course, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything if it weren’t for our legendary customers which just happen to be some of the coolest people on the planet.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
Even BPA free plastic is toxic so we chose to start doing deliveries in 5-gallon glass jugs. These were too heavy and cumbersome for the majority of our customers, so we decided to switch to custom made 2.5-gallon glass jugs. We looked for manufacturers in the US, but they’re just aren’t many companies that can make our size glass here (yet). We found a great manufacturer in China, and we have been very happy with the results. All of our glass is certified lead free and attention is paid to every detail.
The second product we designed was a glass dispenser that matched the jugs. We now have over a dozen custom products we sell. It’s a lot of fun designing new products, and each batch we make is better than the last. Something we haven’t always been very good at is including explicit written and video instructions with the delivery of products. It is important to think about the entire user experience, and how you can make it as seamless as possible.
Describe the process of launching the business.
When I started the business we were using a public spring. This was not conducive to scaling, and we soon realized we needed an actual bottling facility and a spring with unlimited capacity. We’ve actually sourced our water from two different springs in the beginning. I searched for almost a year to know for certain I had found the best spring on the entire West Coast. We started off delivering to Los Angeles, and at the time of writing our water delivery range is from San Diego all the way to North of San Francisco. We are adding more cities soon, but we do ship glass all across the country for people to collect their own water.
I have always done our own branding and website design. It’s a lot of fun, and anyone can do it nowadays. Another great option is to hire a few people to design your logo on Fiverr and see which one you like the best. When we started I had a small amount of money saved up, and I spent quite a bit on credit cards as well. Be careful running up credit card debt, as it can take a lot longer to pay back than you might think. I ended up paying quite a bit in interest. For us, it was still well worth it though. As long as you pay off the minimum due on the cards each month, it can pay off in the long run.
We started the company as Fountain Of Truth Spring Water. We even got the Trade Mark, but it just didn’t speak to what the product actually is. We changed the name to Live Water, and couldn’t get the ™ for it. In retrospect, this was a mistake, as we should have applied for the ™ before changing the name.
We are very happy with the name Alive Water ™ and feel like the whole process was a blessing in disguise. Embracing change has always worked out well for us.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
I continually ask myself 1 thing: What is the best product/ service we can provide?
If you’re not constantly improving and learning you aren’t going to grow.
Things oftentimes take longer to accomplish than you think they will. Try and focus on how you can help people the most, and the money will follow.
There is always room for improvement, and stagnation is death.
Advertisement is not cheap, but it’s part of doing business.
We prefer to pay brand ambassadors and influencers, over Facebook and Google. We’ve found it’s typically a better return on investment, and it feels good to support lots of people, over large corporations. We’ve had a lot of success with customer referral programs.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Today I feel blessed and grateful. In the midst of a global lockdown, I see a lot of benefits arising from the current circumstances. Nature has been able to cleanse. Companies are realizing employees can work from home, potentially supporting more family time and better lives. I think a lot of people are strongly considering what’s important, and how we can make the world a better place.
The future I envision is one where children come onto the earth with more reverence and peace. I’m excited to be witnessing more and more women embracing ancient ways of birthing and shaping healthy vibrant souls. I’m excited to see more people returning to things like hunting and gathering. For me, it has given me a much deeper appreciation for nature, and how important it is to protect it.
Alive Water is consistently growing, and improving through the support of the community. Almost all of our sales are directly through our website. We prefer direct sales, so we don’t have to cut into profit margins. We also like to be able to provide users the best experience possible.
Our short term goal is to continue to grow in the areas we already service (most of California for water, and the entire country for glass sales). Our long term goals are to expand our operations globally.
I recently acquired FindASpring.Com to make it a better user experience for everyone involved. People can view cold and hot springs near where they live, or anywhere they’re excited to travel to.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Do what you love.
Work on yourself so you can show up better.
Believe in yourself.
Have acceptance and faith in divine timing.
Live in the moment... This moment right now
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
For eCommerce, it’s hard to beat Shopify. It’s a very easy interface to use, and anyone can create their own website. I’m excited to know they are starting to offer fulfillment services and developing an all in one shopping experience that will be competition for Amazon.
We are excited to have recently started offering cryptocurrency payment options. The future is decentralized blockchain. It offers solutions far beyond just better payment options.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
The wild fed podcast and show has given me a deeper appreciation for nature, and why it matters to protect it. The Lifestylist podcast is a great resource if you’re interested in improving your health.
For business, Mentor Box offers a great service that condenses business books into short synapses. My current favorite podcast is The Bad Crypto Podcast. My greatest teachings and inspirations come from my beloved Dakota Chanel.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Things oftentimes take longer to accomplish than you think they will. Have patience and trust in the divine timing. Try and focus on how you can help people the most, and the money will follow.
Think about the future you’d like to see, and don’t stop until its reality. Manifesting is real. Envision how you will spend your profits to make the world a better place and you will attract abundance.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We’re always providing opportunities for ambassadors to share the benefits of living water and get rewarded financially at the same time. You can visit our website and sign up for our referral program to get an 11% commission on all referred orders.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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