Sarah Kauss quit her real estate job 5 years ago to attempt to start her own company. Four years later, Kauss was listed on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list, and her reusable water bottle company S’well is making $40 million in revenue.
While Kauss learned much from her real estate jobs, she knew that it wasn't for her. When she saw a presentation at her Harvard 5-year reunion on the clean-water crisis, she was struck with the idea to create her own company to help solve this crisis. This epiphany gave her the confidence to quit her job and pursue the idea. She worked fast, developing the bottles in her apartment and sending one of the first models to Oprah in hopes of gaining media attention. “If I kept [S’well] back until it was ready,” Kauss says, “it would never have been ready, or someone else would’ve done it first.” Luckily for her, a senior editor at Oprah responded to her, and her company took off. S'well now has partnerships with companies such as Starbucks, Facebook and New York Fashion Week, and their bottles are sold at places such as Bloomingdale’s and Crate and Barrel. The company also works in charity with organizations, such as Michelle Obama’s Drink Up, UNICEF and American Forests.