- Jaden Smith is launching a new line of flavored bottled water.
- JUST Water uses bottles that cut down on CO2 emissions. It also invests in local communities and actually encourages customers to reuse bottles instead of buying more.
- Smith wants to “revolutionise” the $US16 billion bottled-water industry, and he’s taking cues from Elon Musk.
Jaden Smith’s ride to our interview – a Tesla Model X with Falcon Wing doors – tells you about half of what you need to know about the 19-year-old star’s new mission as an entrepreneur.
“I love Elon [Musk],” Smith told Business Insider. “He’s one of my biggest inspirations in the world.”
Smith, the son of Jada Pinkett and Will Smith, needs the entrepreneurial inspiration. In March, Smith is launching a new flavored-water brand called JUST Water.
The bottles will cost $US1.99 each and be available nationally at retailers like Whole Foods and online at Amazon. Available flavours will include organic apple cinnamon, organic tangerine, and organic lemon.
The $US16 billion bottled-water industry is booming. In 2016, for the first time ever, Americans bought more bottled water than soda, according to research and consulting firm Beverage Marketing Corporation.
But Smith says he became interested in the bottled-water industry from a different perspective. He founded JUST Water with Drew Fitzgerald, an environmental activist who also works as a creative director at MIT, in 2015. From the start, the B Corp-certified company has primarily emphasised its mission to reverse the trend of bottled water creating plastic waste.
“I want to make an alternative to this issue that we have,” Smith said, “and try and create a solution we can get behind.”
People who drink JUST Water, Smith said, should feel like they’re doing “something better for the environment, for the world, and for their children, and their children’s children.”
How JUST Water changes the game
JUST Water’s boxy bottle is recyclable and has a significantly lower carbon footprint than most competitors, as it is made primarily from paper and plant-based material.
The company sources its water from Glens Falls, New York, paying six times the municipal rate for spring water and investing back in the community.
And, Smith encourages people to reuse the bottle. The mouth is specifically designed to be large enough to allow for easy refills from taps.
Still, if JUST Water is all about its social mission, why didn’t Smith simply launch a nonprofit or donate to an environmental activist group?
“I wanted to create an industry for people – to offer jobs for people, to really create an industry for the next generation,” Smith said. “And, to create something for people to get behind that could really be profitable.”
That brings us back to Elon Musk.
Crafting a Musk-inspired ‘paradigm shift’
Smith isn’t thinking just about bottled water. Instead, he imagines JUST Water to be a launching point for a revolution.
“Elon went from PayPal immediately into Tesla,” Smith said. “He revolutionised the car industry in a way that no one before him could do.”
He continued: “That’s kind of what I want to do. I want to step into this water-bottle industry and revolutionise it in a way, because I’m thinking in a way that no one else is thinking.”
It’s a lofty goal – but, in a swiftly changing industry, not an absurd one. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are making enormous investments in improving sustainability and healthier options, such as bottled water. And, Smith is a 19-year-old with bigger plans and better connections than most people will have in their lifetime.
Smith says he is currently working on a documentary about recycling. He wants JUST Water to do more education in classrooms and to create a platform for recycled material to be used to build things like tables, cell phone cases, and even building materials. Ultimately, he wants to play a part in the rise of a new industry centered on recycling.
“Now everybody has to make an electric car, because there was a paradigm shift,” Smith said. “And I think one day, everybody will be making a recycling company because it’s going to be the new industry.”
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