Of all of our cultural cliches that include the word “mother,” “necessity is the mother of invention” might be my favorite. I’ve heard (and lived) that motto my whole career- probably a product of being raised in the Midwest. It’s even better when you can add a humorous twist to it. Enter Mom Water. We had been waiting for a spirit that targeted moms in an authentic, genuine way. Much of the marketing to this group (me included) is superficial and cringeworthy. So imagine our surprise when we not only found an amazing product created by and for Moms, but it also happened to be based in Indiana. Mark this moment: Mom Water is on a roll and will become mainstream in the next 12-24 months.
Jill created the very first prototype of Mom Water on vacation in the Dominican Republic. Combining vodka with fruit-infused water made a light, non-carbonated alcoholic beverage she wasn’t finding sold on the market.
Jill: I don't like all the sweet sugary frozen cocktails, so I’d started mixing drinks with vodka and fruit infused water. Unfortunately one day one of our kids grabbed my bottle of water by the pool, and Bryce suggested maybe I start labeling these bottles of water so that the kids don't get it. So I jokingly wrote with a magic marker “Mom” on the side. And so then we had a cooler of mom waters and regular waters. It just kinda stuck. And then Bryce started hearing our friends calling it “mom water.” He was like, “Hmm, it's kind of catchy.” And it just kept rolling from there.
Mom Water’s testing phase wasn’t conducted by panels of market research— it was done around Bryce and Jill’s kitchen table with friends. Later, Bryce and Jill would discover that their group of moms was just a subset of a much larger mom community.
Bryce: “I've discovered how moms in general, when they like something or dislike something, they love to share it with all their friends. It’s this tight-knit community. If it's something that they don't like, they're going to let their mom community know about it. But the flip side of that is when they like something, they do the same thing. They want to share that thing that they found with all the other moms, even though they might not have any other common ground. But they still have that one unique bond between them all, which is the fact that they're all moms, they love sharing things with each other.”
Each of Mom Water’s four flavors is named after a mom persona: Linda, Sandy, Julie, and —yes— Karen.
Bryce: “We had label designs done right as the “Karen” thing started happening. It was almost becoming a negative to be Karen. We wondered if we maybe should drop it, but we decided in the end we didn't want to redo everything. And we thought maybe we'll be able to kind of bring something enjoyable back to the Karens of the world. They've gone through a rough year. So we decided to keep it. We're all about \positivity. The whole mom theme is to celebrate moms and all that they are and do.”
Mom Water gained popularity in part through TikTok’s mom audience, and creators in the beverage space (like self-proclaimed “Seltzpert” Loryn Powell) reaching out to make video content.
Bryce: “The marketing aspect has been really crazy and nothing either of us expected. We haven't done really any advertising. There have been a few videos here and there on TikTok. We didn't even pay people to do them. They just kind of popped up. I think they saw this fun product and thought, “Wow, this is really cool.” When some of those videos just blew up, and it seemed like we had a lot of people that learned about Mom Water and were contacting us and emailing us. It's fun for us to see people having fun with the product.”
Originally just distributed in their home state of Indiana and nearby Kentucky, Bryce and Jill have continued to evolve the Mom Water operation, now distributing to Ohio and Florida as well.
Bryce: “We have backed everything up to this point. We pretty much put our life savings into it. Thankfully it has grown without the giant advertising push that a lot of companies need. We've talked to several people in the industry and they say it’s super rare for a product to be able to kinda sit on a shelf and someone notice it and buy it and then like it enough to come and buy it again. And all of that support has made us look at doing this full time. We do want to grow our brand and we want to get it into other states like Florida. I mean, we've got a palm tree in our logo. We need to be in a state with palm trees.”
Bryce: “One of the really big things we did not expect is that a lot of guys are drinking it: young guys, old guys. It doesn't matter. I've had guys fully bearded and tattooed up come up to me in a sampling and walk out with a case of it. It's so cool to see that everybody just enjoys it. Cause I think, everybody's got a mom. Everybody celebrates moms. And there's an Easter egg on the bottom of all of our cans. It's a little message that says, “DadsRCool2.” “
Excerpts from emails Bryce and Jill have received from some of their passionate mom fans.
Jill: “The group of moms that I'm friends with all have unique personalities, and we’ve seen all the different sides of a mom. And not that superficial mother image, we don't try to be perfect here.”
Bryce: “We didn't put a ton of thought into having this really strategic brand that would target a specific mom audience. It just kind of happened that way. It was called Mom Water, but we didn’t want to make fun of moms. We want to be in celebration of moms.”
Before Mom Water, Bryce and Jill both worked in healthcare. Now they’ve partnered with a distillery, hired on more employees, and have shifted to making Mom Water their full-time jobs.
Bryce: “Don't be afraid if you don't know something. I joke that my ignorance is the only thing that's gotten us to this point, because if somebody would've laid out on a giant white board everything that would have to happen from January of 2020 until right now for us, it would have been a mile long. And I would have looked taken one look at it and said, “No way. That's overwhelming and impossible. “ But it actually was a good thing.”
having something in your MIND that STEMS from nothing that you have DONE yourself. you find something WITHIN your mind, you NURTURE that idea and bringing it to fruition. the mind has created everything. it's that little SPARK that starts there and TURNS into something.