Hello, my name is Seán Moran. I am the founder of EauLab® which a start-up beverage brand determined to evolve the global bottled water category with a range of body-helpful waters firmly rooted in the quickly growing sphere of health and wellness. 

The ‘eau’ part of EauLab® comes from the French word for water and the brand is pronounced: oh-lab. A few things drove me to explore and pursue this space. 

The bottled water sector as a whole has been sluggish in keeping up with a quickly changing marketplace. Little real attention is being paid to growing consumer demand for functionality, water is primarily sold in plastic packaging, and is still being transported thousands of miles. It’s quickly becoming a case of bottled water needing to evolve, or become irrelevant.

The Story of EauLab®

As consumers worldwide seek more from their beverages beyond flavor and hydration, our brand mission is to bring nature and science together. To add real value to water with plant-based functionality and other raw ingredients that are beneficial to the human body the way Mother Nature intended. And to offer those waters in packaging that is both sustainable and mindful of the environment. 

Lineup of EauLab® Healthy Water Beverages.

Contrary to traditional soda development thinking where a drinks range is usually defined by various flavors, our SKUs are developed, differentiated and pitched by body function. When we do use flavor, it is 100% natural and subtle as we are first and foremost, a water brand.

Our market-entry strategy is mostly bold and brave, with a small pinch of possibly crazy. That is, to roadshow this Brand and team up with a multi-national beverage company from the outset who can help bring this Brand to market quickly and in a meaningful way.

What are your ballpark monthly or annual revenue numbers?

Since we are in roadshow mode to get the brand some exposure, and partner, we are pre-trading – as in, we haven’t sold a single can of water. 

The only metric I can offer is the sampling take-rate at our first exhibition, IFE.  The Gut Support Water was such a hit, we had people coming back to the stand each morning for another can.  By the morning of Day 2, our stand stock was completely out and had to hop in a car and cross London to collect more from the AirBnB we were staying in.  In four days, we got through 978 cans. That is a lot of cans to handle – and a lot of talking!

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I was born in Chicago to Irish parents and returned to Ireland as a baby.  After university in Dublin, I got on a plane to NYC with an American passport to get into the advertising agency world.

It was a career choice I adored and rose up through the ranks of account management at global agencies Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy, TBWA. No day was the same, each client varied very differently – a meeting for detergent in the morning, and chocolate or cookies in the afternoon. 

This is where I learned about the power of the brand and how it can successfully differentiate you from the competition on many levels. It’s also where I learned about what I believe to be the most powerful concept in marketing – focus. 

Of not being frightened of doing one thing well, of appealing to one type of customer. When a beacon shines bright, like moths to a flame, you will find many other different types of customers being attracted to your brand – they may even represent a much greater percentage of your volume than your core customer.

Arriving at EauLab® was actually quite a journey for me and the process was often shaped by things beyond my control. I created a speciality leaf tea brand several years ago for distribution in major supermarket chains.

At the very start, I spent most days filling my little car to the ceiling with cartons and driving to each individual supermarket, checking goods in, bringing them to the floor and stacking the shelves myself.

A very humble beginning but it sure shows you quickly what’s selling, what’s not, and which are your strong markets. Unfortunately, I ‘d gotten into a business with a partner I didn’t know well and whose behavior was decidedly erratic. The situation became untenable, and ended. It was a very difficult period.

This is when my interest in ready-to-drink tea, rather than tea leaves, kicked in and I started to explore a health benefits angle in an incubator program who found some merit in the initial thinking. I often joke now with the program director that I walked in with one idea which was challenged every way possible and came out with another.

This is where EauLab® was born and that too is a continued process of learning and developing.

Take us through the process of developing and testing your water beverages?

I debuted EauLab® at the biennial International Food & Drink Event 2019 trade show in London which is the largest exhibition of its kind in the UK. Getting ready for it was possibly one of the most challenging and intense periods of my life. 

Next Generation Water.

Having booked a space at the show with an event organizer, I put the phone down and took a deep breath in the realization that there was just 8 months to take an early idea and turn it into a fully flushed out brand, with real product to sample so that others could see and touch the vision.

A classic case of jumping from the high-board and then figuring out what to do on the way down.

With my marketing hat on, I live by one motto – it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.  So how the brand might be expressed was of paramount importance.

I approached a young design team in Poland (we have yet to meet in person) who had helped me on another project and so the process of sharing my vision in very rough sketches began. The desire from the outset was clear – simple, bold, beautiful and act differently from other beverage brands.

It’s not what you do. It’s how you do it.

There were two important aspects in creating the EauLab® Body range. Firstly, I looked at hot topics in the health and wellness sectors such as gut health, immune wellness, healthier energy, free-from, vegan and clean label in order that a range had consumer relevance.

Secondly, and by far the biggest challenge was to find a company who could produce a minimum beverage run for sampling at the trade show.

Capacity of canning lines in the UK is seriously stretched so finding a slot was a massive challenge. I could afford to produce one drink so we decided to go with our Gut Support Water because it was a hot topic that would be fresh storytelling at IFE, and so it was.

Gut Support Water.

I saw photographs of real product for the first time on a Friday afternoon standing in the airport security line getting ready to fly from Ireland to the UK for IFE as the cans were being packed into the boot of my sisters car…with the trade show starting two days later on Sunday.

It was a bit of a shock to see that the white background of the can sleeve artwork had not been printed but I was just relieved to have something to sample…the show must always go on! And, the mistake gave me another idea. 

Describe the process of launching the business.

Intellectual property (IP) was one of the first things on the to-do list.  From the moment the EauLab® name was a eureka moment, trade mark applications would be submitted whenever the money would allow. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of this aspect for any business.