What:A juice box filled with 100 percent pure water
Who:Stacey Griffin of Esgee Enterprises LLC
When:Started in 2006
Startup Costs:Approximately $55,000
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and destroyed Stacey Griffin's psychiatric facility, she refused to give up. While rebuilding her staff and clientele, Griffin, 39, came up with Plan B. In July 2006, inspired by her then 3-year-old daughter, who was always demanding juice boxes over water bottles, Griffin thought, "Why not put water into a juice box?"
"I thought I was the first person to think of it," she says, laughing. "So it was a little disappointing to find that two other companies were already selling it." But after researching her idea, Griffin felt confident she still had a niche to work with. "The other companies are marketing it for disaster relief and to kids," she says. "We're marketing to anyone who drinks water."
In December 2006, Aqua2Go emerged in New Orleans grocery stores with a fun and chic design. The packaging allows for a five-year shelf life and easier storage than bottles. Originally, Griffin thought her business would thrive only on a local level--until Ellen DeGeneres picked up Aqua2Go and featured it on her talk show in January. "The very next morning, one of the largest merchants I'd been trying to contact called me at my house," Griffin recalls.
With projected 2007 sales upwards of $550,000, Griffin hopes to be in every grocery store in the country within five years. She encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to research their idea and not be discouraged if it has already been done. "If you have a creative or innovative way to market it, give it a try," she says. "Had I seen the other two water boxes and stopped because of them, I wouldn't have all this success."