How This Company Thrived by Ditching Most of Its Customers By trying to create a luxe water bottle for the masses, Grayl built a product no audience wanted.
Travis Merrigan and Nancie Weston had a simple, elegant idea. They wanted to make a bottle that cleans water. Fill it from a dubious source -- a stagnant creek or a rusty spigot in a foreign country -- and then use it like a French press, pushing down on a plunger-like filter to screen out harmful compounds. In 2013, after two years of development and a successful $15,000 Indiegogo campaign, they made it. It was called the Water Filtration Cup, sold under the brand name Grayl.
Their sales strategy was ambitious; they wanted Grayl to be useful to everyone. They gave it a sleek, stainless steel design to broadcast its durability and high-end elegance. Then they offered three cleaning cartridges, which were called Tap, Trail and Travel. Tap made water taste better, and the other two made it safe. Tap and Trail were filters that removed bacteria and protozoa, while Travel was a purifier that also cleared out viruses. The bottle cost $80 and included the Travel filter; the other two cartridges were sold separately.