Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Personalized Water Bottles - Mark Sikes Story


Mark Sikes was selling $700,000 a year in stick-on labels to manufacturers all over the country. But one day it hit him that he could turn his label-brokering expertise into a whole new business: selling bottled water with a custom label plastered on the front.

Sikes promptly set up Personalized Bottle Water in a warehouse in Little Rock. A friendly and energetic man whose twang comes from living all his 37 years in Arkansas, Sikes kept running his label- brokering business. But he started traveling around the state to hustle up business for his custom-label bottled water.
Soon high schools across Arkansas were buying cases of water with their team mascots on the labels to sell at football games. Funeral homes and hotels found that private-label water was a discreet and effective way to market their services. Brides and grooms discovered it was fun to have their photos beaming out from every water bottle at their wedding receptions. "And used-car dealers love handing you a bottle of water," Sikes says with a laugh. "It makes you feel obligated to them."

By 2005 - his fifth year running Personalized Bottle Water - Sikes was selling about $350,000 worth of water a year and making a tidy profit. Though the label business generates twice as much revenue, he's more gung-ho about the water business, figuring it will grow faster.

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