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'Think, drink water'

Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama's initiative to fight childhood obesity, three moms are waging a campaign of their own to improve the health of local children.

Kimberly Williams, Litisha Cooper and Sjoukie Holt recently teamed up to establish Walii Water Works, a business that sells bottled water. The water is marketed to schools, churches and other non-profits who want to sell the product as a fundraiser.

Hope said that bottled water is a healthier and more useful alternative than typical fundraising products like cookie dough, wrapping paper or coupon books.

"I thought it was a great idea. It was different and unique," she said.

A few months ago, the women (Cooper and Holt are sisters and Williams is a good friend of the two) discussed the lack of access to water in schools. Bottled water in schools is costly, they said, and the only alternative is to drink from the fountain.

Williams said "a heartfelt process" and discussions about how to keep kids healthy and hydrated, along with Mrs. Obama's campaign to improve youth's eating and exercise habits, led them to establish the company.

"We felt while kids are moving, they should be drinking and they should be drinking more than sugary drinks or pop," said Holt.

A 24-count case of 12-ounce bottles of the Walii Watta, which is what the women decided to call their product, sells for $20 and groups selling the water keep 30 percent of the profits. A portion of the profits will also be donated to global water efforts.

The women obtain the water from a spring in Virginia, and keep their stock in their homes -- Williams lives in Rockdale, Cooper in DeKalb and Holt in Gwinnett.

As part of its fund-raiser presentation, the company also supplies a mascot, Walii Wataa, to help educate children about the importance of drinking water. The women said they hope the Walii Wataa marketing tool is fun for kids and leads them to increase water intake.

The women also aim to educate children on the danger signs of dehydration. Recently, Water Walii Water Works donated 200 bottles of its water to the Heritage High School football team.

Williams calls Walii Water Works a "passion" and hopes it will be a movement for change in the attitude and behavior of children.

"Think, drink water," said Williams, reciting the company's slogan.

To learn more, visit www.waliiwataaworks.com.

Comments

John 2 years, 7 months ago

I thinks it is great that people identify a need and make an effort to do something about it & try to make a little money along the way. I would like to share a little bit of advise based on an extensive back groudn in sales/marketing & involvement in fund raising for Booster clubs, PTA & PTO's for over 9 years. When it comes to the marketing mix - which encompasses Pricing, Product, Promotion & Distribution this group seems to be on tract. But they have some challenges & I am not trying to through cold water on their enthusiasm.
Butthe schools in Newton County do have water available in the vending machines (competition for them & the drinking fountains) & I believe the vending company has control over what goes into the machines & for how much. I know & have know vending machine companies & how they operate - they do it today the way they did it back then - except they now have better control of inventory w/scan guns,etc. Secondly, $20/case of 24 seems to be a bit on the very high side. Our big Booster sales fund raiser was to sell those calories & fat loaded "Krispy Kreme" donuts. We sold a lot of them & the Booster club had to buy what we thought we could sell or take them home. Boxes of donuts are easy to move from a slow sales corner to the "hot spots" cases of water not so easy. At that time we sold them for $5.00 a box or about $2.00 (66% more) than the price at the grocery stores - buyers were willing to pay to support a worth cause - some complained the price was too high by two bucks. So I think as fundraiser the $20/case seems excessive - especially in these economic times & lots of competition. That is 6.25 time the price of what one can buy a case of 24/12oz bottles of Spring Water at a grocery store ($3.12 w/7% tax included). Sam Walton's (founder of Wal-Mart) philosophy on business success is "volume is everything". Think about it.... you don't want to be looking at cases Wallii Water in the garage. Again, just some free advise.

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