Entrepreneur Ethan Orr’s business takes off


Emily Waite

Matthew Barton (12) and Ethan Orr (12) hold the water bottles that started their successful business.

Angela Rowe, Reporter

Manitou Springs High School senior, Ethan Orr, started building his business last school year. His interest in being an entrepreneur and his love for marketing sprouted his fascination with selling merchandise. 

He came up with the idea of Wake, an eco-friendly water bottle company that was up and running in less than a year. “I’ve always wanted to go into business, and I’ve been trying to figure out a way,” Orr said. “I looked up stuff, and I saw water bottles.” 

A simple spark as small as getting informed on how much base products cost and how much profit one can make gave Orr the idea to sell water bottles. But it isn’t as easy as one would imagine. Orr spent half a year filling out legal paperwork to set up a website and be certified to sell merchandise legally. 

When Orr faced the challenge of how hard it would be to start his own business, he didn’t give up. He kept at it and did everything as perfectly as possible to reach his goals. “He’s so determined, has great motivation, and is a very hard worker,” Matthew Barton (12) said. Barton is one of Orr’s closest friends who works under him to help market and sell water bottles for Wake.

Almost every day last year, Gabrielle Waters, the high school Media Center Tech, Librarian and Environmental Club Advisor saw Orr working on building Wake on the Media Center computers. “I asked him to be in the Earth Day Celebration last year,” Waters said. “I was surprised that he was starting a business as a teenager.”

Last year during the Earth Day celebration at MSHS, Orr and Barton set up a table in the Media Center featuring Wake. “I sold my first water bottle there,” Orr said. “I wrote a note saying thank you to the person.”  

Orr wanted to make his water bottles different from others. He first focused on the design. “The design itself is different,” Barton said. “The size is 20 ounces, so the bottom fits perfectly in a cup holder. I would compare Wake water bottles to a Hydro Flask in terms of the high quality.” 

Orr also wanted his bottles to be eco-friendly. He uses eco-friendly material and shipping packaging and donates 10% of all sales to nonprofit organizations to help clean up the ocean. 

Orr and Barton posted two video advertisements the day Wake’s website was up and running, and both surpassed 1000 views in one night. They strive very hard to ensure Wake is recognized by their demographic everyday with different marketing strategies. “Marketing is one of my biggest strong suits,” Orr said. Orr used to use Google Ads, but now he is more focused on digital marketing, like Instagram.

As Wake starts to naturally grow on its own, Orr is starting a second business to fasten the amount of income he will receive, so that Wake can be expanded to hoodies, apparel and more merchandise. “We realized it was going to take way too long to build up the profit to do that, so that’s where the second company comes in,” Barton said.

Orr has achieved so much at such a young age and all his peers are sure he will go off to do amazing things as well as Wake. “I want to be an inner conglomerate, which is someone who owns a business that distributes to all the continents on the planet,” Orr said.