Thankyou co_founders(The Thankyou Group co-founders (L-R): Jarryd Burns, Daniel Flynn and Justine Flynn)


Going back several years now, I had the pleasure of meeting Jarryd Burns (pictured) – one of the co-founders of the Thankyou Group whilst holidaying in the States. I had heard of Thankyou Water at the time but meeting him gave me an entirely new view of what he and the group stood for and had achieved. He is a wonderful person with a rare set of morals and such strong ethics. Here is the story of the Thankyou Group by Jarryd . (JC)


1.  Tell us a little bit about yourselves, how you met and how and why you created Thankyou Water?

Back in 2008, a group of five of us got together because we wanted to do something about the World Water Crisis. Dan, one of the guys in the group, had come across facts about the crisis and when he shared them with us, we all felt really compelled to do something to help people in need. So we came up with the idea to create a bottled water company that would exist for the sole purpose of funding safe water projects in developing nations. We had zero experience, zero money but loads of determination and together we somehow managed to get the business off the ground. It was a pretty tough few years at the beginning; we had so many things go wrong and the journey wasn’t exactly as we imagined. Some of the setbacks we went through included major retail deals falling through, people copying our idea, distributors going bankrupt and our factory failing to produce product on time (which resulted in us losing 300 of our 350 stockists). It was a crazy time but it really taught us about perseverance and pushing through the tough times.

TYW-waterfamily dc(Where it all began – Thankyou Water)


2. There is a famous story about how you got stocked by the big boys. Why wouldn’t they stock you and what did you do?

In 2011, we finally saw some big success when we launched a huge social media campaign that resulted in 7-Eleven Australia taking on our water products. Landing our first major retail deal was a pivotal point in our business and really helped us bump up the impact we were making through our water projects.

But as time went on, and as we visited more communities overseas, we knew that water was just one of many huge global issues that needed attention. So we decided to take a massive risk and develop two new product ranges alongside Thankyou Water – Thankyou Food and Thankyou Body Care – in order to fund food and health and hygiene projects as well as water solutions. We knew that to make the biggest possible impact we had to get these products ranged by Australia’s two biggest supermarkets – Coles and Woolworths. The problem with this, though, was that after trading for five years we’d been unsuccessful in getting our water products on shelf. With this in mind, we went for an unconventional approach and we launched a social media campaign, similar to the 7-Eleven campaign, where we asked all our fans to petition Coles and Woolworths to stock our products by posting on their Facebook walls. We launched it with a story on Channel 7’s Sunrise and a campaign video that explained what we were doing. It went crazy – within minutes of launching there were posts going up on both pages and after the first week, the number of posts was in the thousands. In the second week of the campaign, we flew two helicopters over both supermarkets’ head offices with signs asking them again to stock our products. It was pretty bold, but it worked. Both retailers said ‘yes’ to taking on all three ranges and they were made available in stores in a record timeframe.

2Thankyou water_Hand Lotion_2 - decisivecravings (Thankyou Co’s Hand Lotion)


3. From humble beginnings you have now become a household name. Please share with us some of the differences you have made possible to those living in developing countries. 

To implement our projects, we work with Red Cross, World Vision and Oxfam. To date, we’ve funded 112 water projects across nine countries (Myanmar, Haiti, Cambodia, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Burundi, India, Uganda and Timor Leste) to help 67,896 people with safe water access.

We’ve also been able to provide 60,388 people with health and hygiene across 65 different projects in India and Myanmar. Soon we’ll be funding our very first food projects in Kenya and Cambodia, which is really exciting.


CallumH_thankyouco and masterchef(Callum Hann from Masterchef helped develop Thankyou Co’s food range)


4. Thankyou Group has now expanded from water into food and body care, could you tell us about the new ranges and how the development process was different to developing Thankyou Water?

The development process was a big learning curve for us. At the end of the day, we knew the products had to be as good, if not better, than those of our competitors. So we enlisted the help of experts in the field – Callum Hann (pictured above) from Masterchef helped develop our food range and we worked with leading fragrance and body care specialists to create body care products we were really proud of.

Launching food and body care products is a completely different process to water – there are so many more complex elements involved. Having the help of people who had experience in those product areas was invaluable.

2Thankyou_Hand Wash_1 decisivecravings(Thankyou Co’s Hand Wash)


5. What has surprised you most about your journey so far? Please share any moments where you’ve had to pinch yourself.

The moment we received word that Coles, and later Woolworths, had agreed to take on our products was a pretty surreal moment for me and for the rest of the team. We worked pretty hard on the products and the campaign, so to see our efforts achieve a great result was an amazing feeling.

Since we landed deals with the supermarkets, the business has really taken off. We’ve been able to increase our impact in a huge way and we’re excited to watch it keep growing.


Thankyou water_food1 full range (Thankyou Co’s Food Range)


6. Do you have any advice for people wanting to start a business?

At Thankyou we have a solutions-focused attitude. When a stumbling block comes our way, we use this as a stepping-stone to move forward. This often involves thinking creatively and looking at ‘what else can be done’ as opposed to giving up.

If you believe in your idea then be prepared to persevere through the tough times. We thought our idea would’ve been easy to sell but it came with a lot of setbacks and issues we had to get through. The scary thought is that if we hadn’t have persevered through those tough times we would never had gotten to where we are today. The key is to stick in there through the tough times and try to enjoy the journey!


7. What is next on the horizon for the Thankyou Group?

At the moment we’re focusing on growing the business and we’re also developing some great new products. Watch this space!




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