In 2005, Adam Gayner and Ariel Broggi say they created the philosophy behind Fred as a way to advocate the greatness of water. As their website so cleverly quips, “We have water’s back.” By that, the H20 aficionados mean they have created a brand that doesn’t twist water into something it’s not, like many companies marketing to those following health fads or pursuing intense exercise programs.
“Sugar shouldn't get to have all the fun,” explains Gayner, in reference to many of the sport drinks that have become an accepted part of “hydrating” in our culture. “Our mission is to elevate water, and offer it in a flask-shaped bottle that makes staying hydrated an easier thing to do.”
After tinkering with the traditional shape of water bottles to make them easier to carry by being able to fit in the backpocket of nearly anyone’s favorite pair of pants, Fred has received some flack from institutions who’ve expressed their discomfort with water bottles shaped like objects traditionally made to hold alcohol.
“Fred in a flask steps a bit on Puritan values, and as a result, a couple schools and other organizations have kicked Fred out,” says Gayner.
But that doesn’t seem to have fazed the company one bit. Fred continues to grow its simple and smart alternative marketing strategy, seeing an average spike of 40% sales growth every year since its inception. The brand expects to expand even further into skateboarding, which was at the root of its launch back in 2007, and later when the company got on board as a sponsor for the Ryan Sheckler Foundation’s Skate For a Cause.
We caught up with Gayner and Broggi to hear their plans to partner with skateboarding companies, the recent unveiling of the TransWorld X Fred skate park murals, and what we can expect from the brand in the near future.
What sets Fred apart from the other water brands out there?
Adam: We are the first bottled water company to encourage people to refill our bottles with tap and use them again and again.
The shape of the bottle and 'refill and respect' motto sets us apart. This idea transcends our own best interest and looks out for people and the planet just the same.
Ariel: The water that comes inside Fred bottles is super pure and smooth. In fact, Fred is one of the purest spring waters you can buy, and it comes from the USA.
It's wasteful to import water from another country or continent when we have amazing water right here.
Why did Fred decide to support the skateboarding industry?
Adam: It goes back to why we founded Fred - we didn't want sugary beverages to have all the fun. Water is great, and it is what skateboarders want and need during and after skateboading.
We started working with Ryan Sheckler a few years ago by providing water for the Sheckler Foundation's Skate for a Cause and Celebrity Golf Tournament, and it grew organically from there.
Ariel: We love skateboarding, and are doing what we can to support it on a very grassroots level. As Fred grows, we plan to step-up our support for skateboarding and action sports.
How did you get involved with the TW Skate park project?
Adam: One of the skateboarders that works for Fred, Ashton Maxfield, introduced the brand to TransWorld SKATEboarding. It started with water for the staff, and stocking Fred in the TransWorld skatepark late last summer. The staff and skateboarders visiting the park genuinely liked Fred and asked for more.
Fred Water's partnership with Transworld SKATEboarding and the Transworld skatepark grew naturally out of that relationship. We also sponsored the Transworld SKATEboarding C.U.T. Tour, which was a great experience.
Ariel: We looked at the park with mural artist Arthur Jones and thought it would be cool to bring elements of nature into this big industrial space. Then we created the concept that Fred is pouring a river into the room and a natural habitat is created around the water. Arthur messed with the scale of the animals to add a trippy vibe to the whole thing, and then added a huge skull because, why not? Skulls are awesome!
Creativity is a huge part of the Fred lifestyle, and we think the mural is a great example of how cool things happen when you let creative people do their thing
What other skate brands are you working with these days, and what future projects are in the works?
Adam: Last week, Foundation skateboards surprised Dakota Servold with a surprise party to turn him pro (http://skateboarding.transworld.net/1000179095/photos/dakota-servold-surprise-pro-party/). We were proud to support Foundation by partnering with them on that event. The crew at TUM YETO likes Fred, and this week we are supporting their Dekline Footwear tour.
For Go Skateboarding Day, Fred is going to provide water for Emerica's Wild in the Streets in Austin, Texas and SHUT skateboards' event in New York City.
Of course the brand will continue to support Ryan Sheckler's Foundation (The Sheckler Foundation) and its upcoming events.
We look forward to doing more to support skateboarding in the next year!
What other ways are you growing the brand, as far as distribution, marketing, etc.?
Adam: The company is expanding retail across the convenience store channel utilizing our national distribution network McLane Company, Coremark and US Foods. For areas where Fred is not carried, consumers can purchase Fred cost effectively at FREDWATER.COM
Fred just launched a new online store at Fredwater.com. Anybody can now buy a 3 pack of Fred for 8 bucks.
The company is distributed nationally and is available at select stores across the country, and we will be expanding distribution from city to city.
Where do you think the future of skateboarding is headed as an industry?
Adam: Skateboarding is here to stay, and as the industry grows out of the recession Fred is glad to be supporting it.