Scott Dickson started his career journey at just 19 years old, spending a year as a B2B sales representative for a start-up commercial water supplier. However he soon realised he didn’t want to work for anyone else; he wanted to be his own boss and have the freedom to make decisions and explore ideas.
So he set up a comparison-style water consultancy which reduced businesses’ main water bills by lowering consumption, identifying billing issues and finally switching them to a cheaper supplier. It quickly became a successful business and Scott learned a lot but he still wasn’t satisfied. After three years he decided to close that business and set up something else in the same industry but with a physical product in a more scalable format.
Scott suffers from an acid reflux problem so this, coupled with the fact he is very environmentally conscious, meant he avoided drinking bottled water. He was using a competitor’s water filter instead however he knew it could be better and decided to develop a filter that turns tap water into electrolyte rich alkaline water. It made a huge difference to his health so he decided this was his scalable business idea. The Phox Water business was born in April 2016 and by October 2016 the first product was launched.
Based in Glasgow, Phox has an ambitious goal of becoming the main alternative to the bottled water industry. It serves as the eco-friendly way to hydrate yourself contrary to the environmental impact that bottled water has and aims to become a recognisable lifestyle brand with customers across the globe.
"Scotland is an unbelievably supportive country for entrepreneurs; the assistance from the programme has been amazing, we must have one of the best ecosystems in Europe. I’ve been very lucky with the help I’ve received in setting up and developing my business".
Scott Dickson said: “The purpose is to increase the health of our customers by producing sustainable products that help us give back to society. I want to provide people with beautiful and convenient products that lets them ditch single use plastics.”
When he first started Phox Scott joined the Entrepreneurial Spark programme and found it to be a massive benefit to his personal and business confidence. It taught him how to pitch and eventually win three prizes in the Scottish EDGE competition (Wildcard EDGE, Young EDGE and Main EDGE). He then applied to be part of Unlocking Ambition, an intensive entrepreneurial leadership programme with a team of business specialists and development funding, in order to grow the business further.
Funding from Unlocking Ambition has enabled Scott to invest in manufacturing with all future products being made in Scotland. Unlocking Ambition has also paid for the recruitment of a new e-commerce specialist for the business and has meant Scott hasn’t had to seek funding from investors, keeping 100% of the equity.
However, it’s not the financial support that Scott has found to be the most helpful element of being involved in Unlocking Ambition. Scott said: “Scotland is an unbelievably supportive country for entrepreneurs; the assistance from the programme has been amazing, we must have one of the best ecosystems in Europe. I’ve been very lucky with the help I’ve received in setting up and developing my business.
“There have been many standout moments so far but the leadership course set up by Unlocking Ambition was a turning point for the business. It enabled me to understand my colleagues more and we all work much better together now. The informal networking amongst the cohort is also invaluable and I’ve had lots of fantastic advice from the other businesses on areas such as e-commerce, managing stock levels, production and logistics.”
Phox had 6,000 customers using its V1 filter jugs and is currently taking pre-orders for the V2 model which is expected to launch before the end of the year. The V2 is a higher quality product and is half glass half plastic with the filter cartridge being reusable, making it the world’s most eco-friendly water filter.
Scott’s main goal for Phox is to make people buy filters rather than bottled water. “We are here to provide a solution to an ever increasing single-use plastic problem. Our planet is overflowing with plastic bottles, used for a matter of minutes but creating waste for centuries. Our filters turn tap water into electrolyte rich alkaline water and our bottles carry it everywhere sustainably. Social impact is the main goal, profits come second, and I’m now much happier because of that.”