A couple years ago my daughter came up with an invention to help her grandfather (my dad) who has Parkinson's disease, and was frequently spilling his drinks. After a bit of experimentation, she made him a plastic cup that didn't tip and was comfortable. About a year later, she noticed that I had wrecked a keyboard or two with spilled coffee, and she made me a ceramic version at a local pottery studio. Using it, I realized what a great cup it was and I asked her if she wanted to try to bring it to production. What followed was the adventure of a lifetime for our family that had us up to our elbows in clay, traveling to the world's capital of fine porcelain, JingDeZhen, China to prepare for a production run, and culminating in this Kickstarter project.
What started out a simple weekend project has become almost an obsession to build the world's best cup. I've had the time of my life working with my daughter to bring this product to production, and to show her that an idea can become reality.
The world we live in today is vastly different than the one I grew up in. The lemonade stand that used to reach only our neighbors has been replaced by our website, reaching most of the world's people. Instead of being limited to our local merchants, our computer connects us to merchants around the world selling every kind of product and service the mind can imagine, with accessibility that used to be reserved only for simple consumer goods.
This campaign is not just about bringing a product to production, it is about sending a message to every parent and every kid with an invention (which is just about every kid) that in history's blink of an eye, we suddenly find ourselves living in a world where that dream can be made real.
So, to every kid (of any age) with an idea. This project is dedicated to you!
The final product builds on her original invention and takes a year of experimentation and iteration to improve it for performance and comfort, and ready it for production. It's an 11oz ceramic cup that improves on the old fashioned coffee mug in the following ways:
1. It resists spilling when knocked from rest- The Kangaroo cups three legs provide a wider, vastly more stable base
2. It needs no coaster- The cup body is raised off the table, no more chasing guests around with coasters, and no more ring marks on your tables
3. It stacks neatly- There’s no reason a coffee cup should take up so much space in the cupboard, the Kangaroo cups stack neatly.
4. It resists splashing when being carried & used- The rim of the cup is gently curved inward so no drink splashes out as you use or transport the cup. It remains comfortable to drink from, and you get fewer coffee stains on shirts, sofas and carpets.
5. It's stable on a variety of surfaces, from carpeted surfaces to uneven ground outdoors.
We are launching this Kickstarter project to fund our first production run of 1000 pieces. The samples pictured here and in the video are 1st production samples made at the same facility that will do the production run. The facility we've selected for this first run is not a mass production, low cost factory, but a high quality porcelain producer that generally makes decorative vases and tea pots and such. They make the kind of ceramics that JingDeZhen is famous for: "white as jade, bright as a mirror, and harmonic as a bell." In addition, because they are high temperature fired, they are stronger and less porous that standard ceramics. This makes them more hygienic, easier to clean and harder to stain.
We chose JingDeZhen for our source because of the high quality and the ability of the artisans there to help us work through our initial production issues. If the project is successful, we will likely need to move to more conventional manufacturing sources to reduce cost, but today, JingDeZhen China provides a nice reward for our early supporters.
We are a father and daughter team. Lily is the inventor and I'm the product development professional. I've brought dozens of inventions to market, including the skipdoctor, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. On this project, we're supported by YanJun Weng and his expert ceramics team at Wow Tao Ceramics and the China National Ceramic Art Center in JingDeZhen, China. Many thanks to Jared Schmoker for his tireless craftsmanship in prototyping our many samples. This project would not have ever started without the unflinching support and inspiration of Andrea Horyn at Bughouse Studio. And of course, a special thanks to Gramma and Grampa and Aunty Kate for inspiring and collaborating on the invention every step of the way.
After a year of prototyping and testing of dozens of models, we are production ready. The cup you see pictured here is the result of countless hours of testing and iteration to produce a cup that resists spilling and is very comfortable and convenient to use.
We have found a factory that has demonstrated they are capable of bringing the product to production. Now we need to demonstrate the market for the product and place the first 1000 piece production run.
help us develop a FAQ by asking questions by commenting or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Music on video Ivan Chew, "the Quest."
Risks and challenges
The remaining issues are production related: Maintaining quality, having adequate yields, and acceptable cost. We have partnered with experts in ceramic production and chosen a factory that has pledged their support during this ramp up. I personally have been through production ramp up with many products in China previously. My daughter has pledged to remain calm and to continue to tell me she loves me to keep my spirits up.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes, they are dishwasher and microwave safe and intended for every day use, just like any other coffee cup.
Yes, the cups are entirely lead free
Let's try! There are very few factories left in the US making production ceramics, but we have located a couple possible candidates in a small town in Ohio, called East Liverpool, so I'll reach out to them and hopefully we can make something happen.
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