Atlanta is known for its many enterprises, and its local water boys are amongst its most known cultural elements. Three of these young entrepreneurs have turned the everyday hustle into a viable business that does more than make some extra cash.
Three Atlanta adolescents have turned their after-school gig into “Water Boyz ‘N the Hood,” referencing the classic 1991 film. 11Alive spoke to Amir, Serg and Mekhi on how they found a way to make their brand about communal support and entrepreneurship. What was once boys selling water bottles on the side of the road has catapulted into all types of merchandise to accompany their main product, including hoodies, hats, T-shirts, and now branded bottles of water.
The water boys’ efforts are not stopping with new marketing, but to learn more about the very product that started it all, by visiting water plants to gain knowledge on the distribution of safe, clean water to their communities. Not only are the sales connecting them to learn more of the industry they are undoubtedly are part of, but also to gain funding to support their families.
“It did make me feel good,” shared one of the young co-owners, Serg. “I can buy my mom on my brother something. I could buy my family something, and it won’t hurt me.”
A former water boy, filmmaker Greg Williams, has chosen to film their lives and what it means to make a brand for oneself out of this seemingly simple idea.
“The bottle is way bigger than just part of their hustle, a water boy’s story is bigger than just a bottle,” shared Williams.
While the many waters boys across the city are trying to find legal ways to make money, their services are not always conducted with a smile on everyone’s face. The safety of both seller and patron has been a growing risk, with the boys starting at young ages venturing out onto busy streets, as well as the scams older tweens can push onto unsuspecting customers. However, this cohort of aspiring salesmen seeks to reduce that stigma by creating a brand that uplifts the tradition and celebrates their hardworking hustle.
The impact that water has had for this pioneering trio has been quite lucrative, as the money amassed can have a profit of hundreds from a $5 case of water, and now allows them to buy into their dreams and begin a new legacy for the group.
Source: Black Enterprise