What is KOR and why do we exist? We invite you to join us in our mission to celebrate and protect water.
They say necessity is the mother of invention — and so began KOR. Read our story.
THE WATER DROP LOGO
Our logo isn't a water drop just because we do water. There's a deeper meaning behind the shape and colors.
Call us water advocates. We celebrate and treasure water by creating the world’s most stylish, functional personal hydration products. We call our approach, "Better Me, Better World" because we believe you can make a difference without giving up everything you love.
We believe passionately in the importance of clean water to human health and to the health of our planet. By promoting the use of reusable water bottles, we seek to raise awareness and engage the public on important water issues.
Sustainable by Design
We believe that well-made, beautifully designed products are inherently more sustainable than commodity products that are quickly discarded and end up in landfills.
Proper hydration is crucial to your health, but what you hydrate with matters too. That’s why we make all our products with health-safe materials such as Eastman Tritan™ and food-grade stainless steel.
They say necessity is the mother of invention — and so began KOR. Eric Barnes' wife, Stacey, was the first to tell him that his habit of refilling an old Gatorade bottle was a really bad idea. "It's a bacterial trap," she warned, "and you're not supposed to reuse those bottles." Yet, after several visits to retail stores, Eric's failed search to find a reusable bottle that he would actually use left him unsatisfied — and intrigued. Bottled water sales continued to explode as those companies redesigned their packaging and marketed stories of water from exotic locations, yet the practice of sustainable hydration (i.e., drinking from reusable bottles) remained stagnant. It was becoming common knowledge that bottled water waste was a major environmental problem with four out of every five empty bottles being land-filled, but that fact by itself was not changing consumer behavior.
What if the tactics of design and story used by bottled water were employed in the reusable category? Why couldn't great industrial design — where form and function are meticulously analyzed — be incorporated into a new product line that anticipated the user's every need? There was no law that stated environmentally friendly products must deliver less convenience and inferior performance, yet most "green" alternatives often delivered that experience.
Eric was no stranger to taking on a challenge, particularly one with which he had no experience. "One can see with new eyes what others miss" — or at least that's how he rationalized diving head first into the hydration market. Previously, Eric had launched several Internet startups, including Ivysport.com and ePrep.com, but KOR felt more like a mission than a company.
Soon, Eric was introduced to Paul Shustak by a mutual friend. Paul was engaged in a successful product management career with experience at Microsoft, Sony and Adobe. Having personally experienced the same divide between great design and sustainable products, Paul and Eric joined forces and KOR began the journey to develop and launch its first product in early 2007.
KOR sought far and wide to find the best design partner to help make the company's vision a reality. In RKS Design, a world-class design firm based in Southern California, KOR discovered a team that deeply understood how KOR’s focus on design could be the driver that motivated change, creating not just products, but also a company and a movement.
KOR brought over 100 functional design requirements to the project, and after nearly three painstaking years of development with RKS (and over 15 abandoned concepts), KOR emerged in the summer of 2008 with the KOR ONE Hydration Vessel. A lightning rod product, the KOR ONE immediately gathered global attention for the concept it represented — that great, iconic design could be embedded in a product that stood as a beacon of sustainability.
What started as KOR's simple goal of perfecting the reusable bottle has expanded into a company charged with celebrating, protecting, and treasuring water — in our personal lives and the world. Today, KOR is hard at work spreading "sustainable hydration" to the world in a growing line of design-driven hydration products and enlisting water advocates, one customer at a time.
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The Water Drop Logo
KOR is an elemental expression of the word "core," which refers to the central, innermost, or most essential part. Every person has core values, a core personality and core aspirations. Some understand their core; others search for their core. To us, water is at the core of physical life.
The KOR logo both resembles a water drop and is inspired by the Chinese concept of yin-yang, which describes two opposing, yet complementary aspects of any phenomenon. The green and blue sides of the KOR water drop join to represent the dualistic relationship and balance of earth and water.
You might notice that the KOR logo's green and blue arms reach upward to close the water drop, but don't quite touch. The gap acknowledges the constant divide between our goals and achievements. Once you're on the path to "being green," you find there's always something more you could do — and in the eyes of some, you're never doing quite enough. That's OK. Finding balance — in ourselves and in the environment — is a continuous process that never truly ends. It only matters that you're on your way.