Jeff Thomas and Katrina Williams started Water Right, Inc. with the goal of reinventing the garden hose. Their mission was to create an American-made hose that was slim, light, and flexible, didn't kink or leach chemicals, and was beautiful to look at.
Crafted from American-made polyurethane and produced in vibrant colors like eggplant, olive, cranberry and espresso, their innovative vision is realized in every Water Right coil, straight, and soaker hose.
What inspired you to design your hoses?
Sheer frustration. We had this thought one day: Why can’t garden hose be better? Why does it have to be heavy, last a season or two at best, leak here and there and everywhere, be so bulky, need to contain and/or leach toxins... and why does is have to look like s#@t?! Terrible colors, toxic materials, nasty smells... yuck.
We wanted to develop a hose that was better than anything else on the market. That's when we said,"Let's reinvent the garden hose."
With that, we made a laundry list of qualities we felt defined the perfect, world-class garden hose:
• Slim and lightweight
• Does not permanently kink or leak
• Does not smell funny or leach nasty chemicals
• Crush-proof fittings
• Soft and flexible even in cold weather
• Looks beautiful and lasts for years.
These qualities are exactly what you will find in every Water Right garden hose.
What is your company’s philosophy?
To make the best American-Made gardening products we can. Our mission is to bring innovation and quality back to the United States. When others say “Why?” we say “Why not?”
It is our belief that manufacturing products designed for nearly immediate obsolescence is irresponsible. Our country was founded on quality and innovation and our goal is to provide that each and every day.
What have you learned in the process of starting your company?
That honesty, integrity, respect, timeliness, manners, and doing what you say you are going to do is paramount. Equally important is developing relationships with suppliers and customers who value the same.
How long did it take you to create the perfect Water Right hose?
That’s a fun one. I would say we spent 3-4 years doing research, prototyping, field testing, customer testing and prototyping over and over again until we got it just right. I can’t tell you how many Water Right prototype hoses have been tested and where. Front yards, back yards, chicken runs, raised beds, garages, roofs, motor homes, and more. Seems like every few weeks or so we have a new one to test. Every time I bring a new prototype hose home, my kids run. Imagine Dick Van Dyke aka “Caractacus Potts,” in the movie Chitty-Chitty Bang, Bang. Yep. That's me.
Do you have any tips on how to use your hoses?
We always tell people that the more you use our hose, the better it gets. This hose is remarkable once you get it out of its package, uncoil it completely to a fully extended position and then bake it out in the sun while under pressure for a day or two. The hose comes new in the box with what we call "temporary, packaging memory." It can be a little sticky at first and even get a little stuck to itself until you uncoil it completely and lay it flat out on the ground. It also will coil back up nicely after the initial break-in period. We recommend coiling the hose back up loosely and allow it to go back to its naturally circular state. I always pull out my garden hose completely straight before winding it back up so that it coils up naturally and does so without any twists in the hose.
Some of the things that make this hose even better is getting it dirty and dragging it across driveways and any other hard surfaces. All of these things begin to remove the initial stickiness of the hose. In other words, the more you use it, the more you will love it. So go ahead, get it dirty, drive over it, let the kids play jump rope with and break it in.
What is the best thing about having your own company? What are some of the challenges you face?
For us, it’s the reward of hearing from a customer “I love your product and I love what Water Right is doing to bring back quality to the gardening category.” Also, owning the company is like getting to choose which sandbox we want to play in every day and which Tonka Trucks we are going to motor around with.
Hmmm…challenges. Unforeseen delays and raw material shortages with suppliers can complicate things a bit. So can production and manpower issues.
Are you both avid gardeners? If so, what do you enjoy about gardening?
We love gardening. Although, sometimes Katrina and I know just enough about it to be dangerous. In no way are we expert gardeners, but we sure love planting and harvesting. Beautifying our homes every spring and summer with annuals, annuals and more annuals is so much fun. We both love color and really look forward to preparing and planting the flower pots and hanging baskets year after year. Also, believe it or not, we actually enjoy mowing, weeding, trimming, cutting back shrubs, raking leaves... all that great yard "work. " It's sort of our "Zen," if you will.
If you hadn’t invented the Water Right hose, what else would you be doing?
That’s easy. Doing what we love doing everyday: conceptualizing another product, prototyping it, commercializing it, and repeating the process. It’s funny. It took us until we were about 35 years old before we learned we are fairly good at it and it is really a lot of fun. Innovation, problem solving, invention, marketing and branding... We love creating products and companies from scratch. Not sure there is anything else we would want to do that could bring us more pleasure.