Rancho Santa Fe-Based Aqua Luna Waters Encourages Mindfulness in a Bottle
Founder Nicole Gleeson of Rancho Santa Fe promotes wellness, sustainability and functional health through hydration
A good craft cocktail, cold beer, juice cleanses, smoothies, a favorite wine. Maybe even a soda. And coffee — definitely coffee. All drinks we (well, a lot of us) enjoy and often feel we can’t live without. The reality: The one and only thing we all need to drink is water. The trick, for some, is changing it from a “have to” to a “want to.” In other words, choosing it with intention. It’s in this exact space that Aqua Luna Waters awaits.
Founded by Rancho Santa Fe’s Nicole Gleeson, Aqua Luna evolved from circumstances far more emotional than aspirational. When a dear friend, Shenell Malloy, received a devastating cancer diagnosis, the pair embarked on a wellness journey that led to the discovery of practices and therapies both new and ancient, including moon water. The evidence that water is charged with energy from exposure to the moon’s light intrigued Gleeson, and set her entrepreneurial spirit abuzz with its potential.
“I started exploring water just as an industry, moon water, the spirituality aspect, the wellness aspect of moon water,” says Gleeson. “Essentially, moon water is a wellness ritual that goes back to the ancient Egyptian days. It’s all about manifestation and setting intention.” That concept of a greater consciousness around hydration ultimately inspired Gleeson to produce and market her own line of water, which she named Aqua Luna.
“Aqua Luna is deeply rooted in wellness,” says Gleeson. “One of our core values is just trying to inspire people to add wellness practices in their daily routines. Our tagline is ‘Hydrate with Intention,’ so before you take a sip of water, the goal is for our consumer to [think], ‘What is my intention today? What are my goals today? What can I do to be a better person today?’”
At its surface, the concept might seem a bit abstract for the mainstream market, but the savvy Gleeson, a former beverage industry professional, is no stranger to consumer trends in the space. “Especially right now in the water industry, ‘functional’ water is on fire,” she explains. “The alcohol industry, the beer industry, everything is trending down. The soda industry is down double digits. People don’t drink soda anymore. Because, ‘conscious consumers.’” She emphasizes this shift in preferences as a more holistic attitude in general. “People are becoming aware of what they’re putting into their body. People are becoming more mindful. And, people are turning back to water and being healthy, and being a conscious consumer and environmentally friendly. And spirituality, especially with COVID — it forced people to look inside and really reevaluate what they’re doing with their life.”
Micro-market testing of Aqua Luna began locally last June, while the current product, an electrolyte-infused still water in reusable aluminum bottles, launched in October 2022. The packaging reflects Gleeson’s commitment to be environmentally responsible, mirroring that of her customers. This month, Aqua Luna will add an alkaline water to its offering, and in Q2 2023, Gleeson plans to launch a line of flavored sparkling waters infused with vitamins and different functional elements like collagen, packaged in slim cans.
Paralleling Gleeson’s entrepreneurial inspiration sparked by Malloy’s wellness journey, Malloy herself, now a survivor, co-founded Do Cancer, a Rancho Santa Fe-based nonprofit created to support people living with cancer, making treatments, tips, and advice accessible in addition to granting funding for care. Though not directly involved in Aqua Luna, her spirit and support guide Gleeson. “Shenell always says, ‘Don’t wait to get sick to get healthy,’” admires Gleeson, who says that thinking is a pillar of the Aqua Luna mission. A portion of profits is donated to Do Cancer, and Aqua Luna is a frequent sponsor of Do Cancer events. “We’re best friends to this day,” says Gleeson.
As Aqua Luna expands, Gleeson remains driven by the passion that first ignited her and the mindfulness that Aqua Luna shares with the moon water of ancient tradition. “When people think of Aqua Luna, we want them to think about wellness and being intentional and manifesting dreams,” she says. “I want Aqua Luna to be thought-provoking, so when one of our conscious consumers picks it up, they read the back of the bottle and they go, ‘What are my intentions? What do I want to do?’ If I can just get one consumer to provoke positivity in their life in some way, I feel like we’re winning.” aqualunawaters.com