Early-Stage Business Advice From Simon Polet, Co-Founder of Drink Big

Two friends set up reusable bottle company Drink Big with “no ambition” -- and 18 months later are successful enough to dedicate their lives to it full time.

09.01.2020 | by Christy Romer
Photo by Drink Big
Photo by Drink Big

In a candid end-of-year post on Medium, Simon Polet — one half of reusable bottle company Drink Big — reveals the secrets behind the rapid growth of a company he stresses initially had “literally no ambition,” and which recently processed 55,000 orders in one go.

Some context: Polet and co-conspirator Benoit Fortpied, both graduates of the Université de Namur in Belgium, founded Drink Big in mid-2018 with an initial stock of 1,800 bottles. By the end of the year, they’d sold more than 10,000 bottles. And throughout 2019, that number has kept going up, leading to “about €250k” in revenue.

“In 2019, what seemed like a joke to our parents and friends, transformed into a real business generating enough revenue to look into the matter a little bit further.”


Drink Big


Drink Big: Business ‘secrets’

The post is worthwhile reading for anyone considering launching a business, The driving force behind Drink Big appears to be a gung-ho, almost naive authenticity. The two entrepreneurs designed everything themselves, from logo to bottle design — despite both being colourblind.

They entered an already crammed market without doing a market study — even admitting that if they had done such research, they probably “wouldn’t have created this brand at all.”



Polet writes that the duo was also buoyed by various unexpected positives: bottles are highly marketable, not too pricey, and so sturdy that they rarely break and therefore need little need customer support. People know what a bottle does, and are willing to buy one without first trying.

The unexpected success kept rolling in.

“Somehow, without asking anything, we got companies and organisations contacting us to personalise our bottles. This was totally unexpected,” he writes, adding that at one point the team got an order for 55,000 bottles.

“What companies are in fact craving for is original items that are beautiful and sustainable.”

This success, tied to an honesty coursing through the company (the mission statement begins: “we do not pretend that we will change the world,”) is reflected in the company’s financial structure. Polet writes that freedom from external financing has given Drink Big “the choice to prioritise ethics over growth,” adding a hope that 2020 becomes the year of “healthy growth.”


Future plans

Polet and Fortpied plan to use their success relaunch Drink Big in early 2020, and take advantage of the corporate interest through, a new endeavour to make “company swag sustainable.”

What’s more, they will continue to donate 10% of profits to the Ocean Cleanup Project, and relay information about their attempts to select ethical Chinese manufacturers for their bottles.

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