Meet Megan and Kim with Everybody Water
Megan Hayes and Kimberly Reilly, Co-Founders of Everybody Water
At Everybody Water, we are helping to change the world through water - how we utilize it, how we produce it, and most importantly, the impact it has on each of our daily lives. As a beverage company with a humanitarian mission, we wish to be as transparent as the water sealed in our carton.
During our journey from product cultivation to international social model, we realized that our consumer was introduced to Everybody Water, but not to the people behind the brand. So in turn, we decided to do just that: give you, our appreciated consumer, full transparency into the lives that inspired Everybody Water. Ahead, we sit down with co-founders, friends and neighbors, Kimberly Reilly and Megan Hayes, to share how two entrepreneurs are following their dreams while creating a more sustainable and compassionate future.
What do you wish to accomplish with Everybody Water from a business perspective and personally?
KR: I want people to choose water that helps all people have access to water. I started this company in order to use my entrepreneurial instincts to have social impact, and to satisfy my desire to leave this world having improved the lives of others. I hope that Everybody Water inspires other people to make positive choices the same way they do business. Personally, I want to show my children that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. I want to show them we are all capable of positive impact. I hope they will learn that success is not merely financial but also defined by meaning.
MH: I want to go into community after community in developing countries and see smiling healthy children who are now able go to school, all because they finally have clean water. That would bring me so much joy! Also, seeing my girls and the youth in America drawn to businesses doing good and inspired to find ways to give back to causes that are important to them.
As a mother, what do you hope you can teach your children through your business?
KR: Don’t underestimate how big of an impact you can have – think big. I want them to know you will always feel good about your life’s work if you have improved the lives of others.
MH: Find a way to have giving back be a part of your work, it feels good when you can help others. Also that you can take a dream and create it into a business. Even if you know nothing about the industry, are up against huge competitors, and in a crowded space. Not knowing, screwing up, and being scared is OK, but don’t let that stop you!
Please talk more about Water 1st and how people can get involved.
KR: Water1st provides permanent solutions that transform people’s lives. Their water projects stand out above other organizations because they are sustainable, high-quality solutions. Of approximately 2,800 completed projects worldwide, none of them have failed. Readers can help by raising awareness about the global water crisis or start their own fundraising campaign. Gather a team to participate in the Carry5 Walk sponsored by Everybody Water in Cohasset, Massachusetts, June 9. This event will bring clean water and sanitation to people for life.
MH: Our non-profit partner Water1st sets the gold standard on how to do the best sustainable clean water projects, bringing a sink, shower, and toilet directly into people’s homes for the first time. You can help by getting the word out about the water crisis and introducing Everybody Water on social media. Together we can do so much more and we need a community of people like you who believe in bringing people their most basic need, water.
What was a life-changing moment you had during your humanitarian projects?
KR: While visiting communities in Honduras, I felt embarrassed to be standing next to women beaten down by the grueling task of carrying water for endless hours each day. These women felt degraded by being unclean. In that moment, it felt so unfair to have been dealt such a different hand in life. I felt an absolute moral obligation to do whatever I can to ensure these communities have access to clean water in their homes. The phrase “we take water for granted” is an understatement. Seeing communities while traveling without water systems made me realize water is so much more than what we, privileged human beings, could every fully appreciate. Convenient, clean water is health, time, dignity… nothing short of freedom.
MH: When we arrived in Sompopo, Honduras, they had lined up to celebrate having clean water. The entire village was there to greet us and they were clapping when we walked in. I had tears running down my face and felt guilty that here I so easily have clean water. Seeing the joy on so many faces, all because they had just gotten clean water, was powerful and life-changing. I knew that I had to do everything I could to change this and that clean water should be a right for everybody everywhere. When you don’t have to spend up to 5 hours a day walking to get water (which is often dirty water), you can finally have the time to go to school, you are healthy, and you have a chance at reaching your dreams.
Where can customers find Everybody Water?
KR: Everybody Water is available for sale on our website and by subscription. You can have 12-packs of water delivered by the case for your home, office and events. Start seeing us in stores in Massachusetts and soon across the U.S.
MH: You can find Everybody Water in healthy quick-serve restaurants, markets, and fitness studios in Massachusetts. The businesses we sell into and our customers are amazing! They feel so strongly about choosing the carton over plastic bottles and choosing products that give back. Our hope is our community will help ask for us in stores and places they want Everybody Water to be.
When you're not working on Everybody Water, where can we find you?
KR: In between calls and meetings, I spend lots of time shuffling my daughters to soccer and lacrosse practices, hip-hop class and guitar lessons. I try to get to an exercise class or take a walk every day. In the winter I cross-country and downhill ski up in Vermont. I’ve always been social and like catching up with friends. I’ve learned how important it is to preserve time for those activities that fuel me and keep my mind balanced.
MH: Driving kids from soccer to swim team, robotics, piano...all in between work calls, my car becomes my office. I love walking with my Bernese Mountain dog Lexi at the beach or taking hikes in the woods. To escape and be healthy I go for a run while listening to podcasts about entrepreneurs or doing yoga. When I need to clear my mind my meditation is making jewelry with headphones on listening to music loudly.
What is the most influential thing you've learned as an entrepreneur, and more importantly, a woman entrepreneur?
KR: Having a burning desire to make something happen is a driving force that can make any dream a reality. Mistakes are part of the path and learning from them makes you better. Take the time to talk to as many people you can…they will give you valuable insight to consider and save you time. Your instincts are powerful and you should harness them. I value working with other women and want to see equal representation in leadership roles. It motivates me even more knowing that giving access to clean water is the very first step in improving literacy rates for girls and achieving gender equality for women globally.
MH: Partner with people you believe in, but most importantly, people who believe in you and what your company is doing. For me, having a partner like Kim has been one of the very best parts. We are a good team, neighbors, and friends too. We do whatever it takes and we get shit done (GSD as we put it). Sometime I wake up at 3 a.m. texting or emailing Kim. (The crazy part… she often emails or texts me back at the same time!) Partner with other women whenever you can, together we are stronger. Also believe in what you are doing to your core, it will shine through.
It's 2020, what do you hope has become of Everybody Water? What is your idea of success for the company?
KR: I hope Everybody Water is a household name and that together with our community of passionate consumers, we have changed tens of thousands of lives for communities where girls are now free to go to school, women free to work, and families able to thrive.
MH: In 2020 my hope is we have a strong community of people who believe in giving back when they make purchases and choosing the carton over plastic bottles. That Everybody Water has changed the lives for thousands of people who finally have clean water in their homes!
How can readers contact you to volunteer or contribute? Does Everybody Water have advocacy programs?
KR: We are developing an Ambassador program designed to help spread the word on the impact of clean, convenient water and sanitation systems. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being part of our community. Drop us a line and tell us why you’d like to make difference spreading the clean water word.
MH: Our Ambassador program is being driven by our amazing interns who are so passionate about changing lives and taking care of our earth. They are also coming up with ideas on how to partner with clubs at universities who want to learn about the water crisis and do what they can to change lives. We want to implement more ways for people to get involved and welcome any ideas you have!
What's your advice for anyone who wants to change the world, but doesn't know where to start?
KR: Think about what you like to do and about how you can use that passion to bring people together for a cause.
MH: Dig deep within yourself to figure out what is important to you. You have to find that cause that will drive you and keep you going when you are up against what feels like the impossible. With a give-back business you are building something that is so much bigger than yourself and others will also be inspired to be a part of it.