SARAH KAUSS

SARAH KAUSS

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WHO
IS
SARAH
KAUSS?

Sarah Kauss is an award-winning, Harvard-educated entrepreneur who’s proving that passion, brains and some brawn can get you to the top of the retail game.
Sarah Kauss
Arizona

In 2009, Sarah had a life-changing moment while hiking in Arizona that inspired her to take hold of a personal passion for conservation and turn it into a new career.

Now, as the Founder and Executive Chairwoman of S’well, Sarah takes a fashion-forward approach to being environmentally friendly, while regularly sharing lessons learned in retail, manufacturing, business building and conservation.

She has been recognized as a Fortune’s “40 Under 40” honoree, EY Entrepreneurial Winning Woman and awarded the Harvard Business School Club of New York’s Entrepreneurship Award, while S’well has been named #1 Fastest-Growing, Women-Led Company by The Women Presidents’ Organization. S’well was honored with the Brand Design award by Inc. magazine and placement on the 2017 Inc. 500 List (#99) of fastest-growing, privately-held companies. She sits on the UNICEF USA New York Regional Board and is a member of the 2018 Class of Henry Crown Fellows within the Aspen Global Leadership Network at the Aspen Institute.

MOMENTS IN TIME

With journal in hand and a keen sense of awareness, Sarah has experienced pivotal moments in her life and career that have led her down a winding path to where she is today. She uses her own learnings and experiences to illustrate how the power of awareness and specific moments in time can help us learn, grow and get inspired to chase our personal swells.
Here are just some of the moments she has shared with the world…

QUICK FACTS

1

Sarah owns 100 percent of S’well and is passionate about ridding the world of plastic bottles.

2

She has been a CPA, a global real estate developer and a fashion retail store owner.

3

Sarah was born and raised in Florida, lived in Colorado and New York and loves traveling the world.

4

Sarah believes in the power of mentorship and professional awareness to defining your path to success.

5

Sarah has been recognized as a Fortune “40 Under 40,” an EY Entrepreneurial Winning Woman and a LinkedIn Top Voice.

Some of the Places She’s Spoken

iwf-logo-sm
WomanCon
GWWIB
University of Maryland

QUESTIONS ANSWERED

WHEN DID THE IDEA FOR S’WELL COME TO YOU?

In 2009 I was hiking in Arizona with my mom. I took a drink from my water bottle, and it was warm. I thought that there has to be a better way to not waste plastic bottles and keep water cold.

HOW DID THAT MOMENT OF INSPIRATION TRANSLATE INTO S’WELL?

That same day, my mom and I were talking about work, and she said, “What would you do if you didn’t have a job and you were finally going to start a company?” I knew the answer right away. I started writing the business plan for S’well during that vacation.

WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY WHEN STARTING S’WELL?

I wouldn’t have been embarrassed to talk about it and I wouldn’t have waited for everything to be perfect before I brought it out in the world. There are so many people who helped me along the way, but they could have helped me sooner if I had just asked.

WHY ARE MENTORS IMPORTANT?

They give us the support we need to make fewer mistakes, faster.

HOW HAS MENTORSHIP
MADE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL LIFE?

Being a part of organizations like Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Woman has provided me with the resources to cultivate a network of mentors that help me navigate some of the unknowns of a business startup.
It’s been a wonderful experience and reaffirmed my commitment to mentoring others. I’m always trying to help others overcome challenges and strive for success by participating in different groups, such as the U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN
WHO WANT TO BE ENTREPRENEURS?

Your idea doesn’t have to be perfect.
It’s about being confident in it. If you think it’s good, there are probably many people out there who will also value it. Also, be patient with yourself – the idea might not come right away. Just make sure to pick up skills, ideas, maturity, confidence at every stage of the discovery process and it will guide you to the answers.

PASSIONS

Conservation

S’well has pledged $1.6 million since 2015 in support of UNICEF’s work to provide safe water, sanitation and hygiene to the most vulnerable communities around the world. With a focus on Madagascar, a country where nearly 50% of the population still lack access to clean water, S’well is helping UNICEF improve access to sustainable water sources, promote safe hygiene practices in schools, and aid communities in adapting to the impacts of climate change. With support from partners like S’well, UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Program in Madagascar has helped: 685,000 people gain access to safe water, 2.5 million people gain access to basic sanitation, 340,000 children with hygiene education at school.

 

Mentoring