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When it comes to packaging innovation, it's not about reinventing the wheel. Sometimes it's as simple as tapping into nostalgia; at least that was the case for husband and wife team Mike and Katy Romley."We love to entertain, we love having people over, we throw open our patio doors on a Friday night and neighbors to family to friends come over for our patio parties," Katy Romley said. "And we always had the red cups at the parties."

Heather Caliendo

July 25, 2013

3 Min Read
Innovation in a red cup

When it comes to packaging innovation, it's not about reinventing the wheel. Sometimes it's as simple as tapping into nostalgia; at least that was the case for husband and wife team Mike and Katy Romley.

"We love to entertain, we love having people over, we throw open our patio doors on a Friday night and neighbors to family to friends come over for our patio parties," Katy Romley said. "And we always had the red cups at the parties."

Red-Solo-Cup.jpgThe red cups she referred to are the disposable plastic cups created by the Solo Cup Co., which was acquired by Dart Container in 2012.  

But Romley said they grew tired of throwing away the red cups after its use, viewing it as wasteful. So they asked themselves a simple question - why not come up with red cups that are reusable?

"We got to thinking about how the red cup symbolizes so much more than just a cup," she said. "It reminds people of their younger years and just getting together and having a good time, which is what our entire company stands for - a good time."

And that's how Phoenix-based Red Cup Living was born. The Romleys decided to create reusable plastic cups that serve as homage of sorts to the Solo cups.

The red cups from Solo do have intellectual property, but Romley said they designed their cups so that it wouldn't infringe on any property rights.

As former corporate executives, Romley said it helped having connections in manufacturing when starting up this business.

"This isn't our first rodeo, we have resources in manufacturing that we call," she said. "We know the process of plastic injection molding and we called on contacts to help with the design. From there it was a pretty easy process."

The Romleys launched the company featuring four different reusable and dishwasher safe plastic red cups, a patentedRed-Cup-Living-1-22-138573-sml.jpg magnetic red cup bottle opener and an apparel line. The Red Cup Living cups are reusable and dishwasher safe. The cups are injected molded double wall ABS plastic that is FDA approved.

The cups are currently produced in Taiwan. Romley said they would like to bring it in stateside, but that right now the "market doesn't allow us to do that, especially as a small business. People seem to understand that."

In March, Red Cup Living introduced more reusable red cups: a margarita cup, a cocktail cup and a wine cup. The cups vary in price from $10 to $4.

Romley said that the cups are now nationwide in a number of retailers including Bed, Bath and Beyond and Urban Outfitters.

Going forward, they will keep looking at ways to expand the brand.

"It's all been huge so far for us, we're not a big company, we started this in our kitchen," she said. "But we are living the American dream and the fact that we are creating jobs, both directly and indirectly, well I just can't wait for it to continue."

Guess that is something we can all cheers about, eh?

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