Jesse Leeworthy and Jonathan Byrt get pretty angry when it comes to throw away plastic water bottles. “These days, bottles of water are purchased from the local store, consumed and then thrown away after a single use, destined to litter our beaches or end up in landfill. Single-use water bottles are transported halfway around the world, only to be used once and thrown out! None of this makes sense when there is clean water flowing from our taps” says Byrt.
They definitely have a point. It’s an issue that these two primary school friends (now in their late 20’s) have decided to take globally, joining the fight against a throw-away society.
In an effort to expose and combat this issue, Leeworthy and Byrt created the memobottle; a new type of reusable water bottle that they believe can change people’s minds about how they consume and transport bottled water. It seems to be working. The crowdfunded idea has transformed into an international brand within 18 months and they have now landed memobottle™ in the 88th Oscars® Academy Awards Gift Bags. This they hope will inspire some of this year’s best Directors, Actresses and Actors to take notice and join the one bottle movement.
Leeworthy and Byrt, lifelong friends from Red Hill on Victoria’s picturesque Mornington Peninsula were seeing first-hand the devastating impact that single use drink bottles were having on their coastline, not to mention the rest of the planet. They could no longer sit around watching and waiting for this issue to resolve itself. Jesse who had completed his honours year in Product Design Engineering at Swinburne University, focused heavily on Single-Use bottles and their effect on the environment.
Photo: Jonathan Byrt and Jesse Leeworthy (memobottle™ Co-Founders)
Two years later with a design scribbled on a scrap piece of paper Jesse presented the idea of memobottle to Jonathan over Skype. Jonathan had been working in Boston, USA in a world leading Professional Services firm but was itching to make a positive change to society. Jonathan saw the idea and instantly warmed to it, but the two of them decided to sleep on it to be sure. Leeworthy still remembers the next morning when his phone started ringing at 5am. Jonathan was on the other end of the line and he was ecstatic. He had slept on the idea and was ready to talk details. The two immediately decided they had to go ahead with it. They knew the idea and the innovative design had the potential to change the way people viewed bottled water consumption.
The idea for a premium, re-usable, flat water bottle resembling the shape of a piece of paper was born. The creators fittingly named it the “memobottle”. The memobottle™ is designed around the international paper sizes (A5 and A6) to neatly slide into carry bags alongside computers, books and valuables. The A6 memobottle is the smallest of the collection and is designed to fit in your pocket, handbag or held while jogging.
Leeworthy and Byrt knew that human convenience is often the catalyst for devastating climate damage so to make a positive change and impact on the environment they needed to create something that offered improved human convenience coupled with a clear environmental advantage. “We realised a long time ago that people really are resistant to change. Unfortunately, when presented with two options a lot of people still go with the more convenient or cheaper option, regardless of the environmental or social implications.” says Byrt.
“To really break people’s habits around single-use drink bottles we had to offer something that was truly convenient, beautiful and sustainable in design. The memobottle™ had to make people think, and encourage people to ask questions” says Leeworthy. “We were finding not only a frustration with single-use drink bottles from an environmental stance but we found it intriguing as to why all bottles were round. Bottles hadn’t changed shape in decades yet tablets, laptops and computer bags were all flat in their design. Round bottles just didn’t fit with our modern lives. So, we decided to flip the equation”.
In August 2014 Leeworthy and Byrt launched the memobottle™ on Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. Needing a target goal of $15,000, after 45 days of the Kickstarter campaign, memobottle™ had racked up 6,118 backers and received $261,148 in funding. memobottle™ had resonated with the public., The slim and convenient design of the memobottle™ and the environmental stance that the company took against single-use water bottles added great social worth.
Since the humble Kickstarter days, memobottle™ has grown into an international brand that was sold in over 70 countries last month alone and is stocked in over 100 retailers worldwide. In February 2016, the A5 and A6 memobottle™ were featured in the prestigious 88th Oscars® Awards gift bags. On the Hollywood night of nights, these gift bags were presented to each Oscars nominee - representing the best Actors, Actresses and Directors of 2015. “Getting the memobottle™ in the hands of actors like Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio is exciting for us on many levels” says Byrt. “These are people who are enormously passionate about environmental and social causes. Matt works tirelessly with his charity Water.org and Leo is doing incredible social and climate related work with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. They are using their vast influence to shed light on environmental issues that need addressing.”
On February 28 many of the actors were celebrating their amazing achievements in film, while these two Aussie guys were celebrating the realisation of a dream and 18 months of sleepless nights by bringing positive change all the way to one of the world’s biggest stages.
“Our focus and aim has always been to inspire and create a more re-usable society. We are doing everything we can to spread the word by sharing memobottle and our environmental message with the world.” says leeworthy “If the Oscars generates increased awareness of our message then that is a positive for us and a win for the environment.”
Join the one bottle movement.
About the memobottle™ Founders:
Jesse Leeworthy (Co-Founder) is a highly renowned and award winning Product Design Engineer from Melbourne, Australia - his passion for the environment and simple functional design is evident in his previous work. He is starting to make a small mark on the global design world.
Jonathan Byrt (Co-Founder) is not your average Chartered Accountant. With a brilliant mind for business coupled with a knack for quick problem solving and strategizing, Jonathan’s innovative approach sets him apart from the rest.
Disclaimer: This Gift Bag is not affiliated with the OSCARS® or the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences; the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences does not award, sponsor, endorse or provide these gift bags.
Distinctive Assets, the LA-based entertainment marketing firm credited with beginning the marketing craze of celebrity swag over 15 years ago, has delivered gift bags and produced backstage gift lounges for dozens of premier award shows and special events.