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Kennedy: Business with local ties goes global

Kennedy: Business with local ties goes global

A concept pioneered in Glens Falls – selling sustainably sourced spring water in a non-plastic, single-use container – is now being replicated abroad.

JUST Goods, which bottles water from an aquifer in Queensbury, introduced its JUST Water to Australia in March following a debut in the United Kingdom last summer.

Though thousands of miles away, the packaging and product resemble what is produced locally.

JUST Water’s paper carton, looking like a slender quart of milk in colorful baby blue, yellow and orange, comes from renewable forests; its cap is made from sugarcane. Inside is spring water that is consistently plentiful – in Australia from a spring near Melbourne, and in the UK from a spring near Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Bottling occurs close to the source, the same as in Glens Falls. There was a “disinclination” to ship water from the U.S. “due to the carbon footprint implications,” says Kara Rubin, JUST Goods vice president of brand and product strategy.

JUST Goods, you may recall, opened shop locally in 2015 as part of a plan “to create socially and environmentally impactful products at an accessible price.”

In both the Australia and UK launches, JUST Goods CEO Ira Laufer described the additions as important steps for the company in providing consumers “with truly ethical bottled water and [to] play a role in reducing the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans.”

The latter was a childhood concern of U.S. actor Jaden Smith, whose family, including father-actor Will Smith, invested in JUST Goods. The younger Smith frequently talks up the water on social media.

Rubin, the vice president, said JUST Water’s new infused flavors, introduced last year, also are available in Australia and the UK. She indicated this week that apple-cinnamon packaged in a red carton has been phased out; lemon and tangerine remain. Three new flavors, though, will launch “in a matter of weeks”: cherry, mint and blackberry.

Rubin described the overseas response to JUST Water as “robust.” In both Australia and the UK, “anchor” retail partners were lined up for the introduction, with plans to then add others. That already has started in the UK, she said.

When JUST Goods announced the UK debut in August, it called the move “the first step in a major global expansion.”

Rubin said the UK operation could answer demand coming from Europe while Australia could serve Asia.

She said JUST Goods remained committed to expanding beyond core water, too.

“The strategic vision behind JUST Goods has always been that the brand would be an umbrella for products in various categories with quality, thoughtful sourcing and sustainable packaging the common denominator among them,” Rubin said.

Interest in three non-water products was tested on the website – rice cakes, granola and olive oil – and the latter now is ready to launch “at scale” to meet demand, she said.

Marlene Kennedy is a freelance columnist. Opinions expressed in her column are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s. Reach her at [email protected]

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