Water can
Soccer mom puts swimming pool in a can

By Christine Wang
Assistant Editor

Drew Aultman, 43, loved the "total luxury" of spritzing Evian water as a student at the University of Alabama . For the champion diver majoring in advertising and public relations, water atomizers offered another way to keep cool. After graduating in 1985 with a bachelor's degree, she worked as an advertising executive in her own agency before becoming a "soccer mom" to her three boys, Hilsman , Jordan and Andrew.

In the last 20 months, however, things have changed. After Aultman's husband told her she could “can” her idea for a swimming pool, she did just that. Immersing herself in the new business venture of putting purified water in an aerosol can, she created two pharmaceutical-grade water atomizers, Watersall™ and Splash Cool® Swimming Pool in a Can (Sorry, pool boy not included.)™. The only ingredients are purified water and medical-grade nitrogen, she said, so no irritants harm sensitive skin. Sterilization eliminates the need for drying chemicals such as preservatives, alcohol and fragrances. "When we did our research, we found that in fact the make-up artists and people we talked to said that the salt and calcium in other water products was a drawback; it was drying to the skin. Our research showed us that purified water would be even better because it would remove the minerals naturally found in water. Models said the minerals would often sting their eyes."

A few early contacts tried to convince her to include other ingredients, but she was adamant: she wanted the products to contain only water, and to be sterilized. "The sterilization price is equal to the filling price," she noted, but she was "in it for the long haul." Initially, she wanted the packaging of Watersall and Splash Cool to look like other popular water atomizers, with a large can and echo-gorge cut. The desired size was available only in Europe , where water atomizers have been popular for decades. After consulting with several manufacturers in the aerosol industry, she selected components from Nussbaum , Berry Plastics and SeaquistPerfect; the packaging components are imported from Switzerland , Italy and France , respectively. Gebauer Co. in Cleveland , OH is the filler; sterilization is by Steris Isomedics in Libertyville , IL . Her company plans to use KIK Custom Products in the next run, she said.

Ken Wanner of Formulated Solutions was especially helpful to her growing knowledge of the aerosol business and its specific terminology. Aultman contacted him following the March 2004 at the Southern Aerosol Technical Association (SATA) meeting in Atlanta . "I went to the Aerosol 101 class [at SATA]," said Aultman. "At first, I would call [Ken] and say, 'You know that thingamajig on the top of the can? Well, I'm looking for one that does such and such.' Now I know that thingamajig is called an actuator button. The aerosol industry is like any other—it has its own language." ( Southwest Georgia Living, May/June 2005). George Tomeny , a US representative at Paxtek Intenational, was her "Can Man," she said. "He put me in touch with Nussbaum in Switzerland … Everybody was really great. What impressed me was that they didn't hang up in my face. I started with no knowledge, but I was so determined to get this product made." Spray Technology was among her first resources, she said. Spray Technology was among her first resources, she said. "I couldn't have done it without the magazine and (Publisher) Cindy Hundley and (Editor) Shirl Dorman; and the web site was instrumental."

The two purified water sprays, identical in ingredients and price, are packaged under two different brand names to target both "the fun, trendy, hip group of girls" in the 18-34 year old segment with brightly colored, fun packaging; and the spa and medical fields with more subdued packaging, she said. Splash Cool comes in a range of sizes: "Baby Pool Size" (1.7 oz. travel size); "Plunge Pool Size" (5 oz.); and "Olympic Size" (14 oz.). Watersall is available in a 5 oz. can. From customer feedback, the potential exists for eventually adding other ingredients. "Essential oils, aromatherapy—women are asking that aloe be an ingredient, for mandarin orange and citrus scents," she said.

Applications of the products are "universal," she said. These include:

  • Restoring skin's natural pH balance after exercise
  • Gently washing away perspiration and pollutants
  • Soothing refreshment after sports or facial and dermatological treatments
  • Instant hydration for dry skin
  • Revitalizing make-up
  • Plumping the surface of skin for a more youthful appearance
  • Maximizing moisture retention before applying moisturizer
  • Relief for hot flashes
  • Instant fix for "bed head" in the morning rush
  • Cleaning children's hands before lunch in the park

Aultman attended the Spa and Resort Expo in New York City 's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in May 2005. She has since traveled to trade shows in Atlanta , Dallas , Orlando and Miami . Her products are now carried by 40 stores, including nine retail stores in California and three Internet stores (sold online). "We are in over 20 states now, mostly in the South," she said. In October 2005, Aultman met with buyers for Parisian department stores; Splash Cool is currently available in their Memphis and Nashville , TN , and Birmingham , AL , stores, with plans to expand in 2006. Many buyer say that Splash Cool has the 'wow factor' they are looking for.

After she founded the Andrew H. Jordan Foundation for Children—named by using a combination of her three son's names—her growing business gained its focus. She plans to use funds to support programs aimed at preventing physical and sexual abuse and helping disadvantaged children. With her husband's encouragement to be proactive, she created the foundation "to help educate people, young parents…because abuse happens when there are no resources, nowhere to turn. It really impacts all of society. This was an opportunity to make that dream come true. For me, it's not just about water," Aultman said. And, for those she will help, it's hard not to feel grateful that her initial wish for a swimming pool got canned.


Appearing in the December 2005 issue of Spray Technology & Marketing Magazine



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