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    5 Boston Start-ups You Should Check Out

    5 Boston Start-ups You Should Check Out

    Silicon Valley is known as the heart of the Tech world, but Boston is quickly becoming the main hub of the Consumer Goods industry.  We've been loving some of these start-ups for a while and wanted to share our favorites with you!

    Forsake Shoes:

    Inventing a new piece of footwear doesn't happen often, but that's just what Forsake has done with their line of Sneakerboots.  Rugged footwear that can stand up to miles on the trail and in the backcountry, but styling that doesn't look like you're on your first Outward Bound trip.  We love these shoes because they look as good out in the woods as they do hanging out in the bar afterwards.  You can check them out at:

    Janji Running Apparel:

    Most people run for themselves.  Janji believes in running for another.  10% of every sale goes towards constructing, implementing, and maintaining clean water projects in countries of need.  Each season's performance running clothing is inspired by a different country with the donations going to that country or region.  We love their apparel because it looks amazing and helps great causes.  You can check them out at:

    Box Brew Kits:

    Have you ever tried brewing your own beer at home?  It's a lot of fun, but the equipment is mostly plastic buckets and tubes which can be pretty unsightly sitting in your kitchen or living room. Box Brew Kits thinks you should be proud of your brewing so they make a line of handcrafted wooden and glass brewing kits and equipment.  Their beer, wine, and kombucha brewing kits look so good you'll keep them out in the open as a piece of art!  We love these kits because they look like fine furniture and have every piece of equipment you need to become a brew master. You can check them out at:

    Fortified Bicycle:

    There's nothing worse than riding your bicycle to the store to do some errands and returning to find some part of it has been broken or stolen. Fortified Bicycle makes rugged commuting bikes that can stand up to city life, but more importantly are damn near impossible to steal.  All parts are screwed and locked on, even the lights, so Johnny-bike-thief is gonna have a tough time with a grab-and go, plus Fortified bikes even come with theft insurance, so they've got you covered no matter what happens!  We love them because we can commute through the city with peace of mind that our steed will still be waiting for us when we return.  You can check them out at:

    Biena Foods:

    Snacking should be tasty and satisfying, but why not healthy too!  Biena Foods offers up the best in healthy snacking with their roasted chick pea snacks.  With flavors ranging from Habanero to Barbecue to Cinnamon Crunch, even Chocolate Covered chick peas, you won't be able to stop munching on these.  But hey, you don't need to stop, they're packed with tons of nutrients and they're all-natural!  We love them because we can go back for seconds and not feel guilty! You can check them out at:

    5 Rules for Buying Custom Products

    5 Rules for Buying Custom Products

    Customized promotional products are a great way to obtain brand visibility with your ideal clients but it can be hard to decide on high volume/low price versus lower volume/high quality. Here’s 5 reasons you should choose high quality products over cheap junk.

    Product quality will be equated to your brand’s quality.

    If you give a potential client a product that doesn’t function or breaks quickly, they’ll associate that poor quality item with your company, whether consciously or subconsciously.

    Potential clients are more likely to use a product they would buy for themselves.

    Your branding is a lot more likely to see the light of day if the product is one the client would buy and use even without your brand name on it and will therefore choose to use out in the "real world."

    An item that lasts will provide brand exposure for a longer period of time.

    Quality products remain functioning and in the recipient’s possession longer, increasing the chances of the product fulfilling its ultimate purpose of brand exposure.

    A cheap item is much more likely to wind up in the trash.

    People are far more likely to throw out something they see as having little value. That means that even if you spent very little on the product, that money was still wasted.

    Trashy products make poor ‘Thank You’ gifts and charity donations.

    It reflects badly on your brand if your customized products make you look like a cheapskate when your generosity matters most.

    Using good quality promotional items personalized with your business name is a staple of brand marketing, but it pays to think about the message you're conveying. If your clients and customers are likely to us a water bottle, check out our custom Clean Bottle program to help seal the deal or to promote brand loyalty.

    Fruit Infusions for Athletes

    Fruit Infusions for Athletes

    Lets face it, drinking plain water isn’t always the most enticing way to get your fluids.  But maintaining personal hydration while exercising is critically important! Try the following fruit infusions in your water to take your athletic performance to the next level!


    Running: Strawberry, Lemon, and Basil
    Fruit Infusion for RunningPlain water can get boring after a while and only contains small amounts of the electrolytes lost during exercise. Adding electrolytes and minerals to help rehydration is important after times of high-intensity exercise or lots of sweating.  Strawberries and lemons are especially high in electrolytes but if you're looking for some additional electrolyte reinforcement, try adding a teaspoon of salt to a 25 ounce serving.

    Cycling: Citrus and Cilantro
    Fruit Infusion for Cycling
    Citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, and oranges not only pack delicious flavor, but contain chemicals to settle the stomach and promote hydration during the extended efforts cycling requires.  The cilantro helps balance flavor while adding a dash of color to your infusion!  If you aim to satisfy your sweet tooth then add 10-15 grams of stevia leaf, a zero calorie natural sweetener!

    Hiking: Rosemary and Grapefruit
    Fruit Infusion for hiking
    Grapefruit has a sweeter taste than some other citrus fruits out there, and provides a fantastic change of pace especially when paired with the refreshing bright taste of rosemary which helps battle the inflammation you body experiences on a long hike.

    Soccer: Orange and Blueberry
    Fruit Infusion for soccer
    Once again the power of citrus is revealed!  During a soccer game the average player runs four to five miles, so fueling up on electrolytes is absolutely key. Also, who doesn’t love the nostalgia that comes along with the orange slices we used to have at youth soccer games?

    Basketball: Watermelon and Mint
    Fruit infusion for basketball
    Watermelon is high in glucose, an easy to digest natural sugar, and basketball requires a mix of endurance and explosive power to succeed, which fits glucose to a T.  The mint adds anti-inflammatory properties and rounds out a delicious flavor profile.

    4 Reasons to Ditch Your Disposable Water Bottle

    4 Reasons to Ditch Your Disposable Water Bottle

    1. Save Money!
    Bottled water costs 300-2,000 times more than tap water.  One gallon of tap water costs $.002 per gallon while a gallon of bottled water costs $1.22.  To put that in perspective, drinking 8 glasses of water EVERY DAY for a year comes in at $.50 while the same daily usage of bottles water costs $1,400!

    2. Environmental Cost 
    Transporting bottles water is not easy.  Due to water’s high density, transportation, processing, and refrigeration requires over 50 million barrels of oil, enough to fuel 1 million cars for a year.  Imagine one quarter of a bottled water filled with oil, thats how much is required to produce and deliver a single bottle of water.  Moreover, 80% of single use plastic bottles end up in landfills instead of recycling centers, and decomposition takes at least 450 years.

    3. Public Health Concerns
    Bottled water does not require anywhere near the same levels of regulation as tap water.  Ironically, nearly 40% of bottled water comes from municipal water systems.  In other words, although bottles water is literally exactly the same as tap water, it costs up to 2000% more and comes out of tax payer’s pockets to begin with!  The only time the FDA regulates bottle water safety is when sold across state lines, and that only comprises 30-40% of all bottled water sales.  What this means is a disturbingly large percentage (22% according to one study) of bottled water violates state health limits.  The majority of disposable plastic bottles contain BPA which has been shown to interfere with hormonal levels and reproductive dysfunction.

    4. Convenience 
    Once you make carrying a reusable water bottle around a habit, you will notice how readily available water sources are!  Save yourself repeated trips to the store by making the switch.  If you are skeptical of tap water’s safety, please remember utility company’s are legally required to test water purity for hundreds of chemicals every month.  And if you are still wary then feel free to make an inquiry into your municipal water utility and they will be able to provide you with their certification.  

    5 Things Learned From an Unexpected Press Hit

    5 Things Learned From an Unexpected Press Hit

    As a small business owner you dream about the day when you get great publicity that will take your brand to the next level. Maybe it’s a tweet from a famous celebrity, maybe it’s going on  Shark Tank, maybe it’s running around in a giant mascot suit.  Sometimes you know about these moments beforehand and can prepare for them, but sometimes they just come out of the blue, like what happened to us recently.

    The background: Two weeks ago, Tim Ferriss, author of NYT Bestseller The 4 Hour Workweek mentioned The Square by Clean Bottle in his “5 Bullet Friday” email which he sends weekly to his 2 million newsletter subscribers. When we found out, here’s what our office looked like:

    5 things we learned from a surprise press hit

    That’s us watching our website visitor list hit 20K visitors in just 2 hours! By 4pm, we had more than doubled that and over the course of that day and the following week we would go on to get hundreds of orders and nearly 100K viewers to our website!

    We’ve been asked how we landed that kind of press, and the truth is it just fell in our lap, sort of...  We’ve been long time followers of Tim Ferriss, so 3 years ago when we launched our Stainless Steel Square we decided to send him one.  We blindly sent a sample to his office with a quick note just telling him we were fans and the quick story of Clean Bottle.  We never heard back from him, no surprise there, he’s a busy guy, but we did notice a photo of him about 6 months later carrying our bottle, apparently he liked it.  And given his shout-out in this email, apparently he’s still a fan!  Lesson learned: never shy away from sending out a free sample to an influencer, you never know who might turn into a big fan.


    Here are the top 5 things we learned from this surprise press hit:

  • 1) Be ready to drop everything you’re doing.
  • Sure, we all had a busy day of work planned out for ourselves. In a small start-up like ours, time is your most valuable asset. But when we started noticing something special was happening, we realized our previously set plans were going out the window.  We called a quick 5minute all-hands meeting and divvied up tasks.  Our marketing guy was in charge of manning the website, our head of operations was fielding the incoming emails, our sales guy was handling our customer service phone, and we were all covering each other’s backs.  When you get a big press hit, it’s important to prioritize. You may have a full inbox, but that can wait. The buzz you’re getting from the exposure won’t last forever, so seize the moment.


    2) Make sure you have tracking pixels in place on your website.

    What is a “tracking pixel”? A tracking pixel is a small snippet of code that you add to your website so that you can keep track of who has visited your website.  You won’t know their name or any specifics, but it’s enough to be able to target them later with ads or posts on Facebook.

    If you’ve been thinking about installing a tracking pixel, either for Facebook, Web Retargeting (we use Adroll), or Google Analytics, but haven’t done it yet. DO IT NOW!  You definitely don’t want to get caught unaware and not be able to capitalize on the unexpected web traffic.  

    Having tracking pixels in place will let you re-market back to all those visitors who came to your site but didn’t order.  Maybe their boss walked in while they were browsing the web, maybe they forgot their wallet at home, or maybe they got distracted by a cat video (high possibility here). There will be lots of people looking at your website with every intention of ordering but don’t, and you don’t want to lose them. Tacking Pixels give you a way of putting your goods or services back in front of them so you can catch them at a better time for purchasing.  If we hadn’t had our pixels in place ahead of time we would have missed out on a TON of sales that we were able to make in the following days.


    3) Make sure you are capturing emails!

    Similar to #2, you’re going to get tons of traffic to your site of potential customers, but they won’t all buy at the exact moment. That means you need a way to get them to give you their email so that you can reach back out to them via email later.  A pop-up window is the most common way to do this.  We use a $3 OFF coupon for signing up to our newsletter.  That may not sound like a lot but it equates to about a 25% discount when you purchase a bottle.  Countless people will sign up to get this coupon but end up not ordering.  That means you can now reach out to them at a later date when they really are ready to order.  When you’re generating a buzz, make sure you can email people again afterwards.


    4) Monitor your site.

    About an hour into the frenzy we noticed that all of a sudden orders had stopped coming in.   We had been getting an order every minute or two for the past few hours, and now we were going 8 to 9 minutes between orders.  At first we thought the rush had passed, but then we had a customer call in saying they were having trouble checking out.  It turned out there was a glitch in the website that wasn’t allowing customers to enter their email address and therefore couldn’t complete the checkout process.  Every minute we were down we were not only losing money but also giving customers a bad first experience with our brand.  We quickly got our eCommerce provider (Shopify) both on the phone and on Live Chat as a backup.  It turned out it wasn’t just us, but was more of a systemic problem (perfect timing). We described our situation and our urgency and they moved us to the front of the queue and got us back up and running quickly.  When you’ve got a lot of traffic to your site, make sure to keep an eye out for anything that doesn’t seem right.


    5)  Prepare to be dynamic.

    On his email, Tim had linked readers  directly to the product page for our Green Square, which was great.  There’s nothing better for conversions than sending people directly to a product page. Unfortunately, it just so happened that we were nearly out of stock of that color. Within an hour, we were out! This meant that we had thousands of people landing on a page that read Out of Stock.  We realized that we couldn’t change the link Tim had put in his email; however, what we could do was build in a re-direct to push people over to another page with products that we DID have!  We quickly edited our website to automatically re-direct visitors to the page where they could buy our in-stock Blue Square.  That little change saved us from potentially losing hundreds of sales.  Always make sure you have someone on staff who knows their way around your website!


    Thanks for reading, and hopefully some of the lessons we learned can help you when you get your next surprise press hit!  And be sure to follow our blog (you can sign up here) to read our next article on how we’re capitalizing on this hit and what we’re doing to keep the momentum going!



    The Clean Bottle Team