Boca Raton resident Jose Fernandez needed to change career paths when he sold his legal software company and signed a five year non-compete clause.
So, he went into the beverage business, kind of.
It was his business partner who suggested they look at a product his father patented in 1994 called Alklalife. The formula was like a water enhancer that boosted the pH level in whatever water you were drinking. You just squirted a few drops into water and the pH would be raised.
The supplemental product could be purchased in health food stores, vitamin stores and drug stores. Fernandez began using it overtime he drank water and brought it with him when he traveled.
Over time, Fernandez said he knew the alkalinity in the drops was working for him. Benefits of drinking alkaline water include helping protect the body from toxins and improving overall health because it is less acidic than many popular beverages, including sports drinks and regular bottled water.
“I got used to it and when I wasn’t drinking it, I knew something was off,” he said.
He said he also began to realize that the water source mattered when he was drinking water. He found out that a lot of bottled water is just tap water run through a filter and isn’t always from a pure spring.
That is when he said he got the idea to find out how to eliminate the drops and create a bottled water with the added pH.
“I knew I had a great formula,” he said. “I don’t like adding the drops. I said how can we be different by creating an alkaline bottled water?”
The result, was creating a product that only uses natural spring water with the drops added to that natural water.
“What we ended up is a great tasting water with electrolytes and pH,” he said.
The process of bottling the water began nearly four years ago. TEN officially launched in May 2013.
“We had to see if we had a product people were interested in.” he said. “We knew that alkaline water was catching on.”
In 2014, they sold 35,000 cases of TEN, 65,000 cases in 2015 and more than 100,000 in 2016.
Now, TEN can be purchased in stores like Publix and Walmart, has a patent in the works and has sold more than 100,0000 cases in 2016.
“I am building a brand,” he said, adding he is working on trademarking the name TEN. “TEN is the pH of the water you should be drinking. TEN is perfection. Why do people buy Smart Water? Because it is smart. We are making it simple.”