For Nick Doman and Will Pearson, one decision changed everything: choosing a particular seat on their first day of business school.
“We were the first people each other met,” says Nick. “We spoke about loads of different things but plastic was something that we were both really driven to do something about.” Before long, they were coming up with business ideas.
In 2019, Will and Nick launched Ocean Bottle, a reusable water bottle company. Ocean Bottle products are dishwasher safe and vacuum insulated. Cold drinks stay cold and hot drinks hot.
Every Ocean Bottle sold funds the equivalent collection of 1,000 used plastic bottles from riverbanks, roads and beaches. “Environmental and social impact is at our heart,” he says. “Collecting 1,000 plastic bottles in weight per Ocean Bottle made, was the first decision we made as a business. And every single decision we make going forward reflects that.”
Ocean Bottle opened a business bank account with Starling in 2020. Starling is a digital, branchless and paperless bank that provides customers with debit cards partly made from recycled plastic.
Combining purpose with profit
“The rate at which plastic is flowing into the ocean is accelerating. We need to do more than cutting out plastic straws and bags to shift the needle,” says Nick, 27.
In less that two years, the Ocean Bottle team has sold more than 100,000 bottles, which equates to the collection of more than one million kilograms of plastic. A portion of the water bottles were pre-sold through their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which helped the company become profitable in its first year. Their bottles have even been used on an Ed Sheeran tour.