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Go Ask Mom

Bugs don't bother drinks with CupCaps

Posted June 8, 2014

The flies just wouldn't stop swooping down toward their drinks.

Jason Robinson vividly remembers that evening - dining outside at a Cary pizza place with his son and a former girlfriend's daughter not too long ago. And there were as many complaints as there were flies, especially when one flew right into a drink.

Robinson, a long-time fan of the TV show Shark Tank, decided to take action. He went home and Googled "drink covers," but didn't find anything like what he was looking for. He talked to his brother, who has experience in product development, about his idea.

His brother, now his business partner, did a patent search and couldn't find anything that matched Robinson's idea for something to keep bugs from buzzing into drinks. A patent attorney confirmed their finding.

"Once he told us there was nothing out there, we definitely went full speed," Robinson said.

Robinson went straight into product design, eventually coming up with prototypes for his CupCaps in March 2013. The small baseball caps come with their own plastic cup, lid and straw, but also can fit on most standard cups, including pint glasses or Solo cups. And they can be customized with just about any logo or for just about any occasion - from sports teams to family reunions to corporate meetings to popular characters.

By March 2013, Robinson, a single father in Apex, had prototypes with local sports teams on them. He started taking his CupCaps as he ran errands around town to find out what people thought of it. 

"It was an overwhelmingly positive response to the product," he said. "People were asking me where to get them immediately."

He started reaching out to investors, quit his job in the mortgage business and sold the caps at a major festival in Chicago, his home town.

Since then, Robinson has been busy working on licensing agreements to add to the number CupCap designs. Customers can order the product on his website. And he's added a few retail locations, including N.C. State's bookstore. He also hopes school PTAs and other nonprofits will be interested in the product for fundraisers.

"It's been fun. It's been challenging. It's been a lot of learning and a test of patience for myself," he said. "I would not be able to do it without the support of my family."

Robinson has long wanted to build his own business so he could live his life on his own terms. That's one reason why he was a fan of Shark Tank, the hit show that features business owners making pitches to investors.

Robinson tells me that he's had some interest from Shark Tank, but he also has some meetings lined up that could help him expand his business. He's hopeful that big things are ahead.

Said Robinson: "It's been very, very humbling to hear so many people I don't know wish us good luck and say they all are praying for us."

Go Ask Mom features local parents every Monday, but just dads in June.

 

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