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OVER is a Malaysian social enterprise that sells oversized sports bottles and donates 20% of its profits to fund local athletes.

Faye Lee  |  MY
Published 2021-07-21 20:35:56
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Of all things, water suddenly became the talk of social media with the hashtag #Hydration gaining over 160 million views on TikTok, back in late June 2021.

With the virality of content related to the hashtag, several water bottle brands saw their sales being boosted after being recommended by TikTok stars and celebrities alike. Among some bottle types that went viral were “adult” sippy cups (think a covered cup with a straw and handle), and large gallon-sized bottles.

For this Malaysian, his habit of carrying around a large bottle of water for hydration wasn’t due to this trend, but instead a healthy lifestyle he’d always practiced. Later, he had a lightbulb moment of monetising it. 

“I remember one day I stumbled upon an article on an interview with Julian Yee, a Malaysian professional figure skater. I read about how he had to crowdfund for his training and the difficulties he faced in finding sponsors to support his career,” Zayn shared with Vulcan Post. 

Realising the struggles athletes faced, Zayn was moved to create a brand to help those in need through entrepreneurship, and thus his social enterprise, OVER was born last year in October 2020. 

Doing your body and society good

“Our body needs 3 to 4 litres of water every day, and abiding by that helps lower the risk of headaches, sleepiness, low blood pressure, decreased skin elasticity, dry mouth, and the list goes on,” Zayn explained. 

While he isn’t a professional athlete himself, Zayn is a sports enthusiast and is quite passionate about the local athletic scene.

“After doing some research, I realised that local athletes don’t have many funds and much support to continue their careers, and they typically end up becoming a coach or going back to the academic path,” he shared his findings.

“But [this issue] is starting to get more attention, since we have not been able to get a gold medal in the Olympics yet (hopefully this year!).”

Keeping the colours eye-catching but not too flashy / Image Credit: OVER

Locally, the athletic scene does seem to struggle with getting funding even prior to the pandemic. With the pandemic, funds are now necessary not so much for sending athletes to competitions, but to keep associations alive in the first place.

Of course, there are some who would beg to differ, and personally feel like our local athletes are far more privileged than athletes from other countries in terms of funding.

However, training athletes mainly make money through competitions and events which are difficult to safely pursue now. As for grants and sponsorships, with no events happening, there’s little incentive for those too.

These struggling athletes are who OVER hopes to aid, along with underprivileged families in Malaysia.

It’s a movement that resonates with their customers

If you purchase a bottle from OVER, you can choose to contribute to athletes or a charity of your choice to which OVER will donate 20% of their net profits. They currently have 1.5L and 2.2L bottles, and these retail from RM59 to RM74 without discounts. 

The bottles are made from durable BPA and DEHP-free plastic, have a handle moulded from the bottle’s body (so there’s little to no risk of breakage), and have a flip cap that the team promises is leak-proof.

Did you know: BPA can have possible health effects on the brain and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children, while DEHP can cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Mayo Clinic / Proposition 65

So far, they’ve sold 3,500 bottles since their inception last year and have collected funds of RM4,835 from their customers. These customers are typically involved in sports themselves, which may be why OVER’s mission resonates with them.

For a new startup, those are promising numbers for OVER, which Zayn runs full-time. However, not everyone shares his enthusiasm for the business and its ideas. Some of his friends and family whom he’d hoped would support him still don’t really buy his idea, he lamented.

A design that makes the bottle easily portable / Image Credit: OVER

But that didn’t discourage Zayn’s ambition, and he later managed to find a business partner in a friend he pitched to. “It took me a while to learn from that and understand that this will be a lonely journey but as long as we (my partner and I) believe in it, it will be enough,” Zayn affirmed.

Today, they aren’t the only ones who believe in OVER’s potential, as their sales have shown. Furthermore, the social enterprise has found a few investors and partners to help support its mission.

Selling a water bottle is far from the most unique idea we’ve seen, but OVER’s sales and funds raised thus far speak for its ability to design and market its bottles in a way that caters to a specific target market (sports enthusiasts).

  • You can learn more about OVER here.
  • You can read about more social enterprises we’ve written here.

Featured Image Credit: Zayn, founder of OVER

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