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24th Feb, 2017 — 4 min read

How the small business from Britain found its way to the Oscars!

The Oscars, without doubt one of the most famous ‘nights’ of them all, boasting wall-to-wall A-listers, enjoying lavish celebrations, caught on thousands of cameras, beaming pictures to every corner of the world. It’s a night full of amazing stories too, of the under-dogs, and this year’s no different, like the small British business that’s been given a chance to shine during Hollywood’s night of nights.

Let’s introduce you to Josh White, co-Founder of CanO Water.

Having taken the bold decision to sponsor part of London Fashion Week last year, Josh told us he nearly dropped the phone when Vanity Fair called, asking for their product: “The Oscars is the biggest event on any celebrity’s social calendar so to be asked to provide our cans of water for one of the biggest, most famous after-party is a dream-come-true.”

CanO Water is a new product, inspired by an environmental problem his business partner Ariel Brooker witnessed first-hand. Josh picks up the back story for us: ”You might be reading this blog at your desk, or on the train, sipping from a bottle of water – and I’m guessing the problem of plastic pollution is a million miles away from your thoughts. But catch a plane to Thailand, take a canoe to some of the country’s small remote islands, and like Ariel, you’ll see the impact eight million tonnes of plastic has on the ocean.”

On his return to the UK, rather than accepting the status quo, Ariel, together with Josh and final co-founder Perry Alexander Fielding, launched the UK’s first ever canned water product. Made from aluminum - the most recyclable material on the planet – CanO Water was born. And the concept is proving popular; the product’s already stocked by Selfridges and Whole Food - and now, as we speak, 2,000 cans are on their way to the Vanity Fair Oscar’s Party, keeping A-listers’ hydrated as they celebrate!

“From idea, to concept, to store shelves in six months, the gamble has worked” says Josh. “We never imagined the product would take off so quickly; two weeks ago we found ourselves on Sky News talking alongside Richard Branson and Prince Charles about environmental issues – it’s just been crazy.”

Success, says Josh, comes down to good timing, a great concept, communication, and the guts to take a risk: “It’s like the gamble to sponsor London Fashion Week - a small business like us, supporting a huge event like that, has paid off.”

He continued: “Obviously it’s still hard as a start-up, but the three of us are big believers in trial and error, in trying something different – seeing if it works, or learning if it fails. And making those judgement calls relies on constant collaboration and smooth, quick communication. That’s where Dropbox comes in, it’s so important for our business.  I’ve always used it, and as a team, its role is to help us make good decisions quickly; whether that’s deciding if something’s a success, or pulling the plug on something that’s not helping us grow“

Having been successful in their mission to ‘crack’ the UK drinks market, the founders now have their eyes set on the US, and the Oscars is an opportunity to hit the states with a bang: “The US is a massive target for us – especially now that cities such as San Francisco have banned the sale of all plastic bottles under one litre.”

But the big thinking doesn’t stop there: “We don’t just see CanO Water as a product on the shelves, it could change everything. By 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish – and we’re aiming to change that. We take risks because we want to build a brand, that can help us be a part of something better.”

And as they prepare for Sunday, what’s Josh’s advice for other entrepreneurs with a big idea and bold ambitions: “Just do it! There is no good time to quit your job, and no good time to start up a new business. You could find a million hurdles, a million reasons not to do it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.”

Find out more about CanO Water here.

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