Danielle Mason

It can be hard to be an entrepreneur in the world of sales and tight margins. I find being positive creates a cycle of wanting to continue on with the day to day grind.


Three years ago, Danielle took the reins of her Grandfather’s 18-year-old business, who founded the company with an incredible passion for entrepreneurship. It was a thriving business, and Danielle had a modern vision for the family’s legacy: to bring the business to a new level of sophistication and service.
When Danielle entered into the private label industry years prior, there was (and still remains), a lack of female presence in the industry. The category was full of products that were dull and boring — This is an industry that sells personalization, but was entirely non-personable. This proved to her that there was an amazing opportunity for change. Danielle decided to revamp and re-imagine what the business could be, focusing more on producing a stylish product, fully prepped for branding and delighting.

Where did the idea for CustomWater come from?

We were originally a private label bottled water/apparel company when my grandfather owned the business. After taking over the business I realized the immense opportunity in the private labeled bottled water industry for growth, so we pivoted entirely to that side of the business. The idea for CustomWater.com came from a lack of style and service in the industry. People needed more support with their bottled water needs. I wanted to be the company that would provide a more stylish bottled water product along with better service, nationwide.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I workout every day, preferably in the morning. I find this early morning routine gives me structure for the rest of the day. I am typically answering emails and arranging production schedules throughout the day. I found that batching emails helps me be productive. Otherwise I get caught up in the back and forth without accomplishing anything on my to do list. I try to tackle one big project every day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Setting goals and milestones. “How do you eat an elephant? In bites” I also have a great team that is really efficient at making ideas a reality.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Mass personalization. I think this trend of law firms, real estate agencies, etc. needing a few cases of water to promote their brands/business will be a huge part of the industry that the big bottlers won’t want to service. That is where CustomWater.com comes in!

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Positivity. It can be hard to be an entrepreneur in the world of sales and tight margins. I find being positive creates a cycle of wanting to continue on with the day to day grind.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Customers will come and go but putting in the hours of hard work will continue to pay off.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

If you are on time, you are late.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Take breaks to walk and clear my head. Moving is the best source of clearing your brain and working out the big problems.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Online marketing. When I first took over the business I didn’t see how vital this was to my industry. I thought of it as an afterthought when it was the only way to the future. Customers are going online to meet their needs in any market, marketing to them online allows for us to be seen.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Not adjusting fast enough to changing market conditions and new trends. We see opportunities arise every day, but taking the leap to implement these changes into your business is the difference of staying in business or extinction.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I enjoy visiting breweries, in doing so I have noticed they rarely have trendy apparel. A great business would be to create apparel for breweries and distilleries. Acting as their marketing/branding staff just on a contract basis.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Massage. It is easy to forget about treating yourself when you are focused on creating a business.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Salesforce. This helps us manage our customer relationships and follow up on a scheduled basis.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The 4 Hour Work Week. No secret to entrepreneurs but it completely changed my way of thinking when it came to running a business and “traditional” work schedules. “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***“. This book is a great personal read. It helps to curate the skills of tuning out the negativity and non essential that social media has taught us should be of sole importance to us.

What is your favorite quote?

While you’re out there partying, horsing around, someone out there at the same time is working hard. Someone is getting smarter and someone is winning. Just remember that.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

Key learnings:

  • Pushing forward with daily hard work is the only way to move forward.
  • It is ok to ask for help. This can have many different meanings, but getting advice and help from seasoned veterans is an expedited way to make the right decision.
  • Sleeping on a big decision or response to an email is almost always the right thing to do.