The short history of Mizu is that Jussi Okasanen founded Mizu in 2008. Tim and Steph Pogue came on in 2011. And they've been making water bottles ever since. While living in Jackson Hole, Tim and Steph were introduced to Mizu by a friend, Jason Ford. After Tim and Steph stepped down from Ride Snowboards, they needed a new endeavor, so they joined forces with the Mizu brand. They moved to Southern California, worked out of the garage, and got to building the brand.

Fast forward to today, they now have headquarters in Carlsbad and a European Office in Holland. The fundamental core of the company and its mission is to reduce single-use plastic waste in our environment. They are part of the 1%Β  for the Planet, which means they donate 1% of revenue to non-profit projects. The current team at Mizu is taking the core value to another level by getting involved and giving back to organizations that help people and the planet, such as the Rob Machado Foundation, Protect Our Winters and Wildcoast.

With so many competitors on the water bottle shelves at the Dicks & Walmarts of the world, Mizu positioned themselves as creating custom water bottles for brands, companies, events, etc. They work with Thule, Vuori, Titlelist, Tesla, Audi, Vans, Nike SB, Nitro, Mt. Baker and many other brands to make water bottles, mugs, canteens, and other accessories. They started working with Tesla simply because their design team loved snowboarding and wanted to work with Mizu. Everything comes back to snowboarding for them. I mean Jussi, one of the founders! We chatted with him about the beginnings of Mizu.
A professional snowboarder turned business founder. How did Mizu come about?Β 
It was wild because, back then, everyone drank out of plastic water bottles when we traveled. I was on a trip with Brad Kremer and some other guys, and every time they were finished drinking from their water bottle, they'd throw it in the back of the truck. And going to AK back then- there were just dozens of plastic bottles, and then we’re just like, this is insane.
Brad and I were like, this doesn't make any sense. We were already using Nalgene bottles and different reusable bottles, but they weren't really cool, and they didn't have any purpose or mission behind them.Β 
Brad and I decided to start a cool brand that was more useful and had a mission behind it. It was definitely early on, as far as the reusable trend goes. A lot of people were like, what are you doing? Why would you do that? Why would you have a bottle? It's so funny to see now, it's become like everyone has a reusable bottle.

A great trend to start.Β 
It's incredible to see that trend change. I feel really good about being involved and part of that. The whole movement, maybe Mizu's part, has been tiny, but seeing that trend to change has been very cool because it is a problem, and the scale is so enormous that any little thing helps.

Q: What was the beginning like?
A: We started super grassroots, more about the mission than the business. And then a couple of years later, all these big companies with big investments wanted to be a part of it.
Q: With a background in action sports, why was it important to bring the brand into this space?
A: That was our space, where we're from, and that's all we do. So that was kind of our base. The brands we looked up to in the space had a mission and a cool factor rather than force-feeding this environmental story. That's our core value and why we started the business, but making it sort of cool, too. The kids would say, 'Oh yeah, like Mizu is cool, I want one.' Some people got really put off. Like, 'Oh, it's too environmental, this and that.' So we just kind of wanted to have a different angle to go about that.

What is your current involvement with the brand, and where do you see it in the future?Β 
I haven't been in an active role, so to speak, for six years now, but I'm definitely involved. I talk to Steph and Tim monthly. Our mission is the same; we are trying to grow more in that reusable space. So it's water bottles, but now we've added cutlery, gone into lunch boxes, and different areas where we can reduce single-use plastic. Whatever we can do in this space, we can create thoughtful products that can last a lifetime. I feel so lucky that we have a good crew and people supporting us. We're still growing, and I feel very grateful for that.

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