hellowater: Wellness in a bottle

Anna Lardinois

Startup Storyteller

Tom Buskhie is a man of boundless enthusiasm. He’s got a passion for nutrition and estimates that 80% of a person’s health is determined by what they put into their bodies. He feels great, and he wants you to feel great, too. That is why he created hellowater.

Buskhie began his entrepreneurial journey while a student at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He headed his own franchise of a painting company that taught him the nuts and bolts of running his own business. Assigned to the Green Bay territory, the student would spend his weekends off campus recruiting painters for his business and selling his team’s services.

From there, he was hooked.

With the skills he learned in the painting business and his interest in nutrition, he started a natural soft drink company in 2009. After exiting the company in 2014, he remained interested in the beverage industry. Soon, he began to consider how he could use his knowledge of nutrition and his professional experience to improve the lives of others.

Launched in 2017, hellowater is a line of sugar-free, all natural infused waters designed to improve the health of its consumers. The prebiotic line supports digestive health while offering 5 grams of water-soluble fiber. The defense line features a patented formula that delivers nutrients while detoxifying the body and the alkaline line works to restore the body’s pH balance. Bushkie wants people to think about getting healthy before they are unhealthy. He sees his product as more than a hydrator, but a key component of good health.


Clinical studies of the water’s effects on the human body are on the way, but the company is gathering anecdotal evidence daily that the product is having a positive impact on its users. During our conversation, Bushkie shared an email he received that morning from a user who declared hellowater to be their “favorite product, ever!” The customer went on to explain a lifelong struggle with gastrointestinal issues that impacted the user’s daily life. The customer explained that drinking the company’s prebiotic water “has been the only product that seriously improved my GI health and empowered me to eliminate a couple daily supplements and live a more normal day-to-day life. Thanks for making such a life changing product.” Bushkie said it is stories like this that motivate him to continue hellowater and its mission to support proactive wellness.

With its company headquarters in Milwaukee, Sendik’s was the first retailer Buskhie approached to carry hellowater. Sendik’s was soon joined by Outpost, Woodman’s, and scores of other Wisconsin-based retailers. Of the city Buskhie says, “Milwaukee is a great place. They’re very supportive community and, a great place that buyers are willing to try out new products.”

Now on the shelves of grocery stores throughout the Milwaukee and Chicago area, as well as in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southwest regions. Next, hellowater is eager to increase its direct-to-consumer online sales, both on their own website and through the Amazon marketplace.

Hellowater is currently in the midst of Series A funding and is preparing for a year of growth in 2022. The coming year will bring the launch of a new product, an electrolyte powder stick that contains their proprietary defense formula, and the addition of key staff members. As for Buskhie, he plans to “keep grinding, keep hustling and keep innovating new products.”

To learn more about this product, or find hellowater in your area, visit their website

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