Angela Michael and her family have suffered a run of bad luck with water bottles over the years.
"We've used a lot of drink bottles," Angela, 39, tells 9Honey. The Melbourne mother-of-three says they have experienced everything from glass ones breaking, stainless steel ones chipping, bad tastes, bad smells and concerns about plastic.
"I just found they would break or they were hard to clean," she shares.
"I come from a very eco conscious family so it's a natural way of living for me to consider the environment and my impact with the purchases I make and the way I live... it has been a way of life for a long time."
She also wanted something safer for her children to use, not to mention more sustainable.
Currently, the global reusable water bottle industry is worth a staggering $13.17 billion.
"We're definitely not perfect but try to live meaningful lives in where we shop," Angela shares. "Especially with clothing, I don't purchase many items and when I do, they are sustainable, ethical brands and I wear them for a long time.
"At home we like to support sustainable local brands doing their part for the environment and live 'low tox' (low toxicity) for example dirty laundry, washing sheets, for the dishwasher, local organic produce and to support local farmers.
"I enjoy making my own chai at home and take it in my fav mug to save on takeaway cups. We use reusable containers, keep cups and bee's wax wraps."
Angela began researching water bottles online and decided to create the perfect reusable water bottle for she and her family, in keeping with her ethos.
"We did market research and found that people wanted something more light weight and easy to clean," she says. "That was super important."
She had an idea of what she wanted the water bottles to look like, but she also wanted to ensure it was environmentally friendly.
"My sister suggested bamboo but sugar cane was a no brainer," she says. "It functions like plastic but it is carbon negative and zero waste.
"Many other water bottles use a lot of resources to create them. Ours would be sustainable, dishwasher safe, non-toxic, light-weight, environmentally friendly and durable."
It took two years to bring her idea to market. Angela registered the business name Worthy and under the brand they produced a first run of 5,000 bottles which went to market in 2021.
"We started our own Shopify store and created a website. We're about to do our second run of 15,000 bottles."
Worthy is a family effort, with husband Brendan helping out with the finance as the kids also playing their part in the business.
"I'm a dreamer and I love taking risks. He's the level-headed one that keeps us on budget. The kids help put orders together and do post office drops, but mostly it's all me."
Business is steadily building, with the bottles also being sold in health food stores, museums and other specialty stores.
"We've let sales evolve naturally and now they are stocked in 100 stores nationwide," she says.
The bottles retail for $29.95 and are 750mls in size.
"We wanted them to look fun and adventurous unlike other brands, we are a fun and adventurous brand and we wanted to be bright and fun with our designs."
Their latest range has been inspired by 90s surf culture, hitting the shelves just in time for Spring and Summer.
And in her three children – Jonas, 10, Ayla, 7 and Jentzen, 3 – she has the perfect product testers.
"The kids love them, even our three-year-old who has no problem using them."
For now, Angela and her husband Brendan continue to work, with Angelia employed as a radiographer. But one day the business may be doing well enough for them to both focus on building the brand full time.
And 10 per cent of every bottle sale goes to Vision Rescue, an organisation that helps abandoned women and children living in the slums of Mumbai and RAMS, who run local resilience programs for at-risk high school kids.
"This year we want to increase our stockists nationwide, we're about to release three new colours and we're moving into reusable coffee cups, picnic wear and a children's range."
September 01, 2023