Better Businesses: Miir Bottles
Better Businesses – Miir Waterbottles
We recently spoke with Bryan Pape, the CEO and founder of Miir, a water bottle and more recently, a commuter bike company that is dedicated to improving the lives of people all over the world. Miir rides the fine line of being realistic about running a business while remaining hopeful and determined to making a positive impact on the world around them.
Pape created Miir because, he said, there was a need for better water bottles. Bottles weren’t fitting in standard cup holders, it was taking too many turns to screw on lids, and the mouths were usually too big or too small to drink from. Bryan brought innovative ideas like one-turn screw-on lids, the perfect-sized bottle mouth, and a loud and confident look to the table…and Miir was created.
But a sweet water bottle wasn’t the only thing Bryan wanted to accomplish. Along with respecting the environment, he wanted to make a significant and positive impact on society somehow. Through a random commercial on Hulu, the idea of clean drinking water for people in Africa was spawned.
Miir’s most focused and developed initiative is their One4one program. Simply put, for every waterbottle we buy, $1 goes towards building a well in a part of Africa that is in need. This $1 has been calculated to provide 1 person with clean drinking water for 1 year. But here’s where these guys are unique. The money goes through One Days Wages, who not only include the members of the African community in building these wells but to also teach them how to use, manage, and repair the well. Miir partnered with this non-profit in part because one of Miir’s most prominent philosophies is to aid in the sustainability of the African communities and to not create dependency. There are currently 11 wells built and providing villages with clean water. Miir is currently working on a way in which the buyer can follow up on where their dollar is going and how it is being used.
One of Miir’s recent initiatives is the Buy one Give one initiative involving their line of high quality, commuter bikes. Purchase one Miir bicycle and you will be giving enough to one of their partnered non-profits to provide a bike to someone who needs to commute in an African country. But that’s not even the best part – Miir is implementingthe idea of learn to own/work to own. For every child that receives a bike, they are required to commit to 2 years of school. For every working adult that receives a bike, they are required to continue their work for 2 years. Each bicycle owner is taught bike maintenance and repair as part of Miir’s way of encouraging independence and sustainability for these communities.
Pape explained that as we live in a global economy, it’s unrealistic at times to source everything for their business from the United States. In fact, no one in the country makes a steel bottle for under $20. Their factory is based in China and Bryan and his team traveled there to handpick a safe, healthy, and fair work place for its future employees. Steel is imported from Korea as the material is better quality (less iron content than steel from China). That way, customers are getting less of a metallic taste from their water bottle. As for their bike line, a family-owned business is building their bicycle frames in Taiwan. Pape and his team have gotten to know this family personally and are vigilant in maintaining good working conditions. Miir audits and visits their overseas factories annually. All apparel and printing of bottle skins, stickers, etc. are done in the U.S. Miir is working hard to be a company that cares, not just about a successful business, but about creating a better world in which to conduct that business.