S’Well Bottles

by Grace Bonney

My brain seems to be fundamentally incapable of staying committed to the simple, but important, task of staying hydrated. I’ve tried setting myself a “drink water” timer, making drinking a game with the FitBit app and even tricking myself into drinking more water by flavoring it with everything from cucumbers to fresh blackberries. While the latter has been my most successful attempt, the bottom line is that I’m better at staying on target when I always have a bottle of water by my side. But rather than contribute to the daily waste of disposable plastic bottles, I’ve been looking for a single (cute) bottle I can use to tote around with me all day. One of my favorites right now is S’well‘s series of wood-inspired bottles. The colors are fun, the bottle keeps drinks cold for 24 hours (and hot for 12 hours) without condensation and the whole thing is BPA free and non-toxic. One big bonus for me is that the top is wide enough to fit ice cubes for extra cool temps and little bits of flavor (I like making mint and citrus ice cubes). I was curious to hear more about the design process behind this series, so I asked S’Well founder Sarah Kauss to share the back story. I loved finding out that each bottle is hand-painted and knowing that it took a while to get just the right style makes me appreciate the final product even more. Thanks so much to Sarah for sharing this process with us. xo, grace

Click through to read the biggest challenge Sarah faced during her design process…




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  • i absolutely love these new designs from swell – honestly the most aesthetically pleasing beverage vessel that i have seen (and i’ve seen a lot!). well done.

  • Each bottle is hand painted? Whaaat. Amazing. I love these. At first I thought of marble, but when I look more closely, I can see the wood. My favorite is the teakwood one. Sad that it doesn’t come in the 17 oz size though. I’m going to hope that it’s just temporarily out of stock.

  • I love that this post includes the prototype count – the bottles themselves are so beautiful, simple and elegant – as a designer, it’s really interesting to see how many trials other designers work through to bring their vision into reality, and to the market. I also love that these bottles elevate something that could seem so basic – a bottle for your drink – to something so special.

  • Sarah is a genius! I’ve known her since S’well was a little company she was managing on her own, and she has built it into something amazing. Not only does she rock on the creative side (these bottles are gorgeous), she is helping the planet AND keeping people hydratied. LOVE. HER.

  • Hello Sarah, love these bottles. Curious you say that each one is hand painted? What kind of paint is used or is the bottle dipped in anything?

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