“I think people are sensing the connections between pandemics and climate change, and are open to rethinking how we do things moving forward.”
It’s been a big week for the subject of today’s five minutes with… the team at Hitch, who are working hard to debut the first full-size water bottle with a removable barista-approved cup hidden inside, launched a Kickstarter to boost their funding. The campaign was funded within just 90 minutes but is still open for those wishing to support it, and receive some hefty discounts on the retail price when the bottle is launched. Plus the company will plant a tree and remove 100 ocean-bound plastic bottles for every order made. What’s not to like?
Today we (virtually of course!) sit down to talk with Sky Gilbar, Co-Founder and CEO of Hitch and a designer an innovation strategist who has worked with global brands like Google and Coca-Cola, as well as social impact ventures like Parker Clay, Yellow Leaf Hammocks, and Kaibae Foods who from his Santa Barbara base, is aiming to change the impact our on-the-go drinks have on the environment.
Luke Upton: Thanks for the time today Sky, you began your career as a photojournalist for press agencies, what has led you to be a part of a team launching a reusable water bottle?
Sky Gilbar (SG): No problem Luke, after working as a photojournalist earlier in life, I transitioned into the world of startups and entrepreneurship, where I’ve been part of launching a few companies and supporting sustainably focused entrepreneurs launch their brands. The idea for Hitch happened organically, out of the personal desire to find an easier way to carry a reusable cup. I already had so much else to carry, like a water bottle, phone, laptop, charger, etc, carrying a reusable cup was inconvenient. Seeing an opportunity to use the water bottle as a way to carry a cup, we started looking at design concepts, and a team of people naturally came together around it.
LU: There’s a lot of reusable water bottles on the market, what makes yours different to the rest?
SG: Hitch is the first full-size water bottle that has a removable full-size cup hidden inside. Both the bottle and cup are stainless steel, insulated, and leak-proof. Hitch makes carrying a reusable cup effortless. With your cup always with you when you need it, it’s easy to switch from single-use paper cups to a reusable cup, and go zero waste.
LU: You state you are ‘climate positive’ – what steps have you taken to measure and ensure this?
SG: There’s a few things we’ve done. First, we’ve tried to maximise the use of sustainable and recycled materials used to make Hitch. In addition, we are a 100% carbon neutral company certified by Climate Neutral. It’s also important for us to do more than just offsetting emissions to help tackle climate change, so with every pledge made on our Kickstarter campaign, we plant a tree (with One Tree Planted), and remove 1kg of ocean plastic (with Plastic Bank).
LU: What advice would you give to our readers who are themselves considering launching their own product?
SG: In regards to launching a product through a crowdfunding platform, one key to success is getting a large community of people interested in your product and mission before you launch. Whether this is through social media, a pre-launch ad campaign, content, or otherwise, it will allow you to launch your product with a lot of interest on day one.
LU: We’ve seen some push back against sustainable developments during the COVID-19 crisis. What do you think this period of challenge will mean for green thinking?
SG: I’m hopeful about the prospects for sustainability looking forward. I think people are sensing the connections between pandemics and climate change, and are open to rethinking how we do things moving forward. Instead of pursuing a ‘return to normal’, I’m hopeful that sustainable companies and organisations will encourage people to think of this as a time to put normal in the past, and to do things in a better, more sustainable way.
LU: Aside from your own, what’s your favourite bio-based or sustainable product?
SG: That’s a tough question, so many good options! Right now, I’m excited about many of the sustainable kitchen products that replace paper products and plastic food storage. At home, my family and I re loving the sustainable food wraps from Bee’s Wrap.
LU: Thanks very much, good luck with the launch!
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