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Swiss Army Bottle

By targeting health shops and outdoor stores with its fanciful flasks, Sigg has won a growing piece of a hot market.

By Benjamin Tice Smith, Business 2.0 Magazine

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- Sigg's aluminum water bottles, cousins of the canteens the Swiss army packed along with those famous knives, have been gaining ground in the U.S. market since the Swiss company was purchased three years ago by Riverside. Sigg containers, which sell for $15 to $25 in stores and online, come in a Swatch-like selection of more than 100 shapes and styles, including demonic skulls, mod prints, and tot-size bottles emblazoned with Hello Kitty characters. Here's how Sigg is dousing the competition.


To give the bottles more exposure, the company took over U.S. distribution from a local outfit and last year hired Steve Wasik, a marketing whiz and a veteran of Chanel and Naya Water, as president and general manager of Sigg USA. Sigg has since increased the number of venues where its products are sold from 400 to 750.


Summer 2006 was great for water bottles - researchers say total U.S. revenue in July was up 33 percent from the year before. By selling through retailers including Eastern Mountain Sports, Hudson Trail, and L.L. Bean, Sigg got a big piece of the action. Though Wasik won't give specifics, he says Sigg's bottle sales are up 80 percent this year.


Sigg courted health shops, where the company's recyclable containers are a natural fit - and it should benefit if several states continue to question the safety of chemicals released by some plastic bottles. Elephant Pharmacy, in eco-correct Berkeley, says Sigg sales have risen about 70 percent in a year to 250 per month.  Top of page

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