Romaine Gordon, an East Hampton resident and owner of B East, an Amagansett fitness studio, has launched the Hamptons Water Company, selling water that originates in the Catskills region of New York with an average retail price of $3 a bottle.
Vapor distilled, enhanced with electrolytes, and bottled in B.P.A.-free recyclable plastic, Ms. Gordon called her water a “premium product.” Before choosing a company to be her water source, Ms. Gordon said she made many taste tests, searching for the best product and for the possibility of growth. “It’s also nice to keep it in New York,” she said.
The idea began at her fitness studio, where she thought it would make sense to provide water she distributed herself, instead of buying it from someone else. She now has found local outlets and donated thousands of bottles to charitable causes, which helps introduce her brand.
A portion of the proceeds, 5 cents per bottle or $1.20 per case, will support the Max Cure Foundation for pediatric cancer research, which was started in East Hampton. In addition, the company has donated water to other charitable events, including the recent Katy’s Courage 5K Run in Sag Harbor. It also plans to sponsor the Montauk Music Festival, three events for Paddlers for Humanity, and to make future donations to support cures for other cancers and diseases, animal rescue, or other community foundations.
Competing against big corporations is “a nightmare,” Ms. Gordon said. “I’m not going to put Smartwater out of business.” Nor does she foresee distribution in 7-Eleven stores or supermarkets. She visualizes the clear, sturdy bottles with picturesque labels at beach barbecues, weddings, and other private events, as well as hotels. “I would love to grow it to N.Y.C., or see it trickled nationwide,” she said.
The retail cost per bottle is a little more expensive than water that is not vapor distilled and has added electrolytes, she said, and comparable to water that is, such as Smartwater. Retailers are able to set their own prices for a bottle, and many are already on board and doing so, she said. Ms. Gordon and Rachelle Eldridge, a friend, have been doing most of the sales and deliveries so far, with plans to have a full delivery and sales staff by Memorial Day.
Already, however, the Hamptons Water Company will be the official water on the Hampton Jitney this summer. The bottles have a smartphone code, which will take visitors to the company’s Web site, which Ms. Gordon said is soon to include “everything Hamptons.” Although the company expects to donate some 300,000 bottles to the Jitney, she hopes people will scan the bottle and browse the company’s Web site. Business owners will be encouraged to add their information to its directory without charge and to upload Hamptons photos.