Earlier this month, Amazon and Oprah Winfrey revealed the 2021 Oprah’s Favorite Things List, a roundup of the talk show host’s favorite holiday gifts of the year.
A San Diego company, Bindle Bottle LLC, is gracing the list for a second time.
Founded in 2018, Bindle Bottle is the maker of vacuum-insulated water bottles with integrated storage. The company has grown 100% year-over-year since its launch, according to Founder Houston Max, and hit the $1 million sales mark in 2020.
This year, Bindle Bottle, named after blanket sticks used in the hobo community, is on track to grow 300% and then another 300% in 2022, according to Max. Making a second appearance on Oprah’s Favorite Things List will have a significant effect on the company’s continued growth, he said.
“The first year we appeared on the list, in 2018, our sales grew by like 2,000%,” said Max, who graduated from the University of Southern California in 2014 with a degree in business with a focus on entrepreneurship.
“We are already seeing a similar trend on Amazon from this year’s list,” Max added. “The first year, our 24-ounce bottle was featured on the list. This year, we designed a new product called the Puppy Pack, which is a bundle of the 24-ounce Bindle, a sleeve for your bottle called the Swami Sleeve made of yoga pants material that can hold your phone and has a strap to be put over the shoulder. It also includes a collapsible dog bowl. The idea is, if you’re taking your dog for a walk, you can store treats in the storage and your phone in the sleeve for a hassle-free dog bundle.”
In the Oprah Daily newsletter, Winfrey said about this year’s selections: “After this past year, I think we all deserve some surprises and delights for the holiday season. That’s why we worked hard to find these truly incredible items. Extra important to us this year? Celebrating small businesses, women-owned brands, and items created by people of color. You’re bound to find something for everyone on your list.”
Bindle Bottle was born out of necessity, said Max. In 2015, it dawned on him that athleisure bottoms didn’t have reliable pockets to store keys, a wallet or mobile devices. With a water bottle in hand, he recalls wondering, “Why doesn’t my bottle just have a stash spot to put little items in?” That’s when he realized he had a potential solution to the problem.
In 2016, Max started searching for a cool design for Bindle. He tried a contractor in China, and then partnered with a company in San Francisco, and got really close to a perfect prototype, he said.
But it wasn’t until he linked with longtime mentor and now business partner Dane Chapin, co-founder of Bindle Bottle, that things really took off. Since the concept didn’t exist, the two were granted a utility patent on a vacuum-insulated bottle with a storage compartment at the bottom.
In 2017, Bindle Bottle launched a Kickstarter campaign – and hit 146% of its goal. In 2018, Bindle Bottle was founded.
Bindle Bottle has roughly 70 SKUs and is sold in about 150 stores, said Max. The product is also available on Amazon – its main sales channel – and the Bindle Bottle website.
In the future, the company hopes to break into the outdoor space, said Max, adding that a couple of new products geared toward that industry are already in the pipeline, including a hybrid backpack that can carry eight to twelve drink cans at the bottom and has dry storage at the top, making it perfect for activities like going to the beach and hiking, he said. The innovative product should be available for purchase early in 2022.
Bindle Bottle LLC
FOUNDER: Houston Max
BUSINESS: Vacuum-insulated water bottle with storage.
NOTABLE: The company’s 2017 Kickstarter campaign hit 146% of its goal.