BevTender, the first dual function cup holder for commercial airplanes was inspired by two unfortunate but entirely common incidents. The first was my coffee spilling on my flight to Palm Springs in May of 2012. I had put it in the seat back pocket only to watch it be crushed and pop the top, spilling it all over my book and iPad, something I'm sure has happened to more than just me.
The second event was when my rambunctious son knocked over my Diet Coke on our flight to Maui in 2013. Needless to say it was a sticky beginning to an already long flight.
I wondered then "why don't planes have cup holders?" The first commercial air flight was on January 1, 1914. Since then no seat maker or plane manufacturer has produced a mass use cup holder for commercial flights, unless you count a circular indention in your tray as a cup holder. I personally do not. Additionally, the newer versions of planes are changing their seat designs, further reducing the ability to use the seat pocket for a cup. Have you been on a new 737 yet?
So it just seems fitting that 100 years later, The BevTender was born. Now everyone can secure their drink cup during boarding, take off and during the flight without the worry of spills or the occasional errant hand of your son or daughter ruining their flight.
The Bevtender can be used in two ways and at many different points during your travels. The first is when you are boarding the plane with a coffee or other beverage cup. Simply place the cup in your Bevtender as shown, and hook it to the seat pocket. Then you can put away your bags and get settled without the need to juggle your hot coffee or other beverage.
While waiting to take off and during, leave your drink in the BevTender and enjoy your morning paper or magazine, without having to hold your coffee. The BevTender has it secure.
After you reach the magical altitude of 10,000 feet, lower your tray table and slide your BevTender onto the side of your choice or the back of your tray. Now you can use the electronic device of your choice without having to give up a large portion of the tray to your cup. Let's be honest, the tray is not very big to begin with, so take back as much of it as possible. And forget about trying to eat a meal on the tray table and have a beverage on it at the same time. The Bevtender will allow you to eat without the fear of your knocking your drink on the floor or your lap.
When the time comes for you or your fellow passengers in your row to visit the little captains room, you have it covered. Simply slide the BevTender off the tray, put the tray up in its locked position and hook it back on the seat. Now you can get up without the need to juggle your book, drink, or other items while your fellow passenger can exit the row without spilling your drink.
The BevTender can also be used for other types of drink containers as well. Pop cans and water bottles, (sorry Fiji water, you're square) and the those open top plasitc cups you get from the airlines. While not enclosed, the Bevtender will still secure it better than an indentation in your tray table or in your seat back pocket.
You can also use the BevTender on commuter trains and other railway cars. In many parts of the country, like the eastern seaboard, rail is the primary means of getting into the cities. Railway cars suffer from the same issues as planes: no cup holders. They have an even smaller pocket on the seat back, making it impossible to store your morning coffee and read your paper or work on your electronic device. Simply hook the BevTender on the seat pocket and enjoy your ride to work to the clickity-clack of the steel rails in the background.
The Bevtender is also great for use in cars and SUV's, or any mode of transportation that provides a seat back pocket or tray table. Heck, it can even be used on your shopping cart at the store or in the classroom on your desk.
The BevTender is appropriate for all types of travelers: families with kids, frequent business travelers who find themselves doing round trips in a single day without a change of clothes and travelers who just want to make the trip more enjoyable but may only travel once a year.
The BevTender is also easy to travel with when not in use. It is very compact at only 4 1/2 inches tall x 3 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch thick. It weighs only 1.5 ounces and can fit into any purse, backpack, briefcase or or suit pocket. It is also durable. The body is made of impact resistant ABS plastic while the cup ring is made of a semicircular metal ring with overlaid silicone for flexibility.
The color combinations are endless, but are dependent on minimum order numbers. A survey will be provided at the end of the promotion to select the colors you want to have in your order.
Currently, the project has been developed and designed to the point of manufacture. I have a patent pending number, 61/972,037, copyright and trademark filed and have lined up the manufacturer to produce the holder. I have chosen the packaging and I have chosen the distribution method for online sales via Amazon.com and am lining up other distribution outlets. It takes a track record of demand success to get into typical retail outlets. I would like to have it available in airports and train stations, where the user is thinking about the product.
I am raising money to finish the tooling and manufacture of the packaging, where it can then be delivered to the distributor for delivery to you and anyone else who orders online. It will also be used to spread the word and get it out into the public. This is a very underserved market at this point with only one or two other competitors.
Risks and challenges
Current challenges are delays in manufacture due to the work pipeline getting filled. At this point the manufacturer can start production and deliver to the distribution center with 8 weeks. Obviously any work loads they take on could push that back, but for now we are in line to get moving. My design firm, Pillar Product Design in Seattle will oversee the first run of the BevTender from the factory in China. This will include the rewards from my campaign. They will make sure to coordinate with the manufacturer that the units coming off the line are up to my specifications.
Another challenge we face is if we need to tweak the design after the first units roll off. That could add additional time, but at this point we have done three prototype runs and one product casting to make sure we have a working model. I have also tested the prototypes and models and the cup holder has performed beautifully. However, any issues that arise here will be dealt with by me and Pillar Product design.
Shipping will be done via air freight, as the units are very light. This will save us months of time compared to shipping via cargo ship. This will help us get the product into the distributors hands for delivery very quickly.
Our distribution will be through Amazon Fulfillment for both the rewards as well as future sales and delivery. I am very happy with Amazon and the B2B system they have set up for companies like mine. They even provide 2 day shipping for Prime members, so the BevTender can be ordered on short notice and delivered before your next trip.
Family Trip reward: Set of 4 BevTender cup holders for you and your family or friends. Order your small children drinks and rest easy, or put one in your car, SUV, work bag and carry on so you'll always have one handy. Colors to be chosen in a survey at end of promotion.
Travel Award: Set of 10 BevTender cup holders for your sales staff or to give as gifts! They will be so happy to arrive at the meeting without a coffee stained outfit. Colors to be chosen in a survey at the end of promotion