They change everything, whether you like it or not. That’s children I mean, and the biggest gift they will give you is perspective. That is what happened to us when Alexandra, my wife, who was CEO of a tech company and a former elite swimmer started questioning our day to day existence.
“Why do we have to spend 8 hours every day away from our children and each other doing something that matters less than what is right here?”
“How can I expect my children to grow up with a unique way of looking at the world if I live a life in the same way everyone else does?”
Here is the killer question:
“How can we make a difference? To ourselves, our children, and to the lives of others?”
Winston Churchill said,
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
And there it is! That is the starting point of Yuhme. So while at home with our second child Alexandra started out on the road to inspiration and it wasn’t long before I joined her. You could say that I have been waiting to be inspired my whole life! I’m a semi successful, ex semi-pro rugby player that has combined traveling and volunteering in my younger years but who has always been looking for something more without really knowing which way to go. I’m proud to say that my wife gave me that inspiration, followed by the book of one, Blake Mycoskie, “Start something that matters”. We both read the book, one after another with the realization that this was it! You don’t need to make millions and then try to make a difference. You just start giving from the get go.
Now we are inspired! But what business? Well we are both former athletes so it would be natural to do something sports related. Something that appeals to every sport. There we had it- a water bottle! And things started to fall into place. Alexandra has an affinity to water, we were well aware of the impact the lack of water has in some of the most impoverished countries in the world. Particularly children in Africa, but we also wanted to do something that was environmentally friendly. Because there is no point to give with one hand but contribute to another problem (global warming), with the other.
If we were going to do this, we were going to do this in the best way possible. At the end of the day lives depended on it!
We set to work, and after going through several different materials we came across a special type of bio plastic, not produced from oil but sugarcane! What is more, it had a negative CO2 footprint! For every ton of bio plastic produced, 2.4 tons of CO2 was removed! After researching the material thoroughly we both realized that this was the only material we could make a bottle from, and even better there was a supplier and producer here in Sweden.
So we set our product designer, also Alexander (How many can you have?), onto the design of our bottle and we started to look for a water charity that really inspired us and others by what they do. For us it was Water For Good. Working tirelessly in the Central African Republic for the last 11 years, in a country fighting a civil war, to bring water to the people by repairing old wells, long forgotten by those who dug them, and digging new wells. They don’t just repair and dig wells, they engage the community. They have well maintenance teams and in 2015 they helped establish the first ever local Central African owned water well drilling business.
As Water for Good describes it,
“The hard truth is that a US-based non-profit organization like us doing all the drilling and maintaining of the country’s wells is not a sustainable long-term solution, even if it has been a necessary first step. Our goal has always been to work ourselves out of a job.”
So there you have it, by the time we released our first bottle it will have been a year since we started on our journey to make a difference. For us this is just the beginning and it’s already been worth it, but if we inspire one more person to dream bigger than themselves and take that leap into the unknown then that is where the real achievement lies!
Alex & Alex