Meet the Maker: Jeff and Katrina Thomas of Water Right

Agrarian, Meet the Maker

 

 

In 2008, Jeff and Katrina Thomas started their company with the goal of reinventing the garden hose. They wanted to create an American-made hose that was slim, light and flexible; that didn’t kink; that didn’t leach chemicals; and that was beautiful to look at. The Water Right hose was born, crafted from American-made polyurethane and in beautiful colors like eggplant and cranberry. Read on to find out more about the process of making Water Right hoses and how they are different from the rest.

 

What makes Water Right hoses different from other hoses?

Water Right hoses are made from world-class polyurethane materials. Not regrind, not blends, not PVC or other inferior plastics. We use only drinking water safe polyurethanes that meets both FDA and NSF for drinking water unlike many other hoses.  Water Right uses a polyether-based polyurethane that is designed for long-term water use.  We have one of the lightest, slimmest, most flexible and durable hoses on the market today.

 

Water Right uses a proprietary manufacturing process in order to produce a super slim lightweight hose and to provide a unique, extremely user-friendly product. We are not aware of any other garden hose on the market today that has these unique characteristic. Polyurethane is a world-class polymer (plastic) that has very impressive mechanical properties and does not contain lead, BPA or Phthalates.

 

It is called an engineered plastic for good reason. It bridges the gap between rubber and plastics and sets the gold-standard for many high-end consumer products…products that require world-class performance, superior abrasion resistance, over-the-top durability and exceptionally long life.

 

 

What inspired you to design your hoses?

Out of sheer frustration with our own garden hose at home, we decided to start our own business in 2008 with one specific quest…to make a better garden hose.  I had this thought one day: Why can’t garden hose be better?  Why does it have to be heavy, last a season or two at best, leak here and there and everywhere, why does it have to be so bulky, why does it need to contain and/or leach toxins and why does is have to look like S#@t. Terrible colors, nasty smells, etc.

 

With that, we set out to develop a world-class garden hose…one that was American made, one that was slim and lightweight, one that would not permanently kink, one that would not leak or smell funny, one that did not leach nasty chemicals, one with fittings that would not crush, one that would remain soft and flexible in cold weather, one that would last for years and one that was beautiful to look at. We wanted to develop a hose for our own home that was better than anything else on the market…because we knew could. I thought to myself…let’s reinvent the garden hose.

 

What is your company’s philosophy?

To make the best American-Made gardening products we can. Our mission is to bring innovation and quality back to the United States. When others say “Why,” we say “Why not.” In our mind, manufacturers whose products are designed for nearly immediate obsolescence is irresponsible. Our country was founded on quality and innovation and our goal is to provide that each and every day.

 

What have you learned in the process of starting your company?

That honesty, integrity, respect, timeliness, manners, and doing what you say you are going to do is paramount.  Equally important is developing relationships with suppliers and customers who value the same.

 

How long did it take you to create the perfect Water Right hose?

That’s a fun one.  I would say we spent 3-4 years doing research, prototyping, field testing, customer testing and prototyping over and over until we got it just right. I can’t tell you how many Water Right prototype hoses have been tested on every faucet at our home.  Front yard, back yard, chicken run, raised bed area, garage, roof, motor home and more.  Seems like every few weeks or so we have a new one to test. Every time I bring a new prototype hose home, my kids run.  I guess they think I am something similar to Dick Van Dyke as “Caractacus Potts,” in the movie Chitty-Chitty Bang, Bang.

 

Do you have any tips on how to use your hoses?

I always tell people that the more you use our hose, the better it gets.  This hose is remarkable once you get it out of its package, uncoil it completely to a fully extended position and then bake it out in the sun while under pressure for a day or two. The hose comes new in the box with what we call temporary, packaging-memory. It can be a little sticky at first and even get a little stuck to itself until you uncoil it completely and lay it flat out on the ground. It also will coil back up nicely after the initial break-in period. We recommend coiling the hose back up loosely and allow it to go back to its naturally circular state. I always pull out my garden hose completely straight before winding it back up so that it coils up naturally and does so without any twists in the hose.

 

Some of the things that make this hose even better is dirt, driveways and any other hard surfaces. All of these things begin to remove the initial stickiness of the hose and, the more you use it, the more you love it.  So go ahead, get it dirty, drive over it, let the kids play jump rope with and break it in.

 

 

What is the best thing about having your own company? What are some of the challenges you face?

 

For me it’s the reward of hearing from a customer “I love your product and I love what Water Right is doing to bring back quality to the gardening category.” It’s also like getting to choose which sandbox I want to play in every day and which Tonka Truck I am going to motor around with.

 

Hmmm…challenges. Unforeseen delays and raw material shortages with suppliers can make things a bit challenging at times. So can production issues and manpower issues.

 

Are you an avid gardener? If so, what do you enjoy about gardening?

I love gardening.  Although sometimes I know just enough about it to be dangerous. In no way am I an expert gardener, but I sure enjoy planting our annual vegetable garden with my wife and kids. I also like to harvest and eat handfuls of blueberries while no one in my family is looking.  I also enjoy getting our home ready every year for spring and summer with annuals.  Crazy I know but color is my thing and I really enjoy getting the flower pots and hanging baskets ready year after year.  I also enjoy my time spent mowing, weeding, trimming, cutting back, raking leaves and more. Sort of my Zen if you will.