How A 12 Year Old Started A $100K Athletic Cup Product

$8,400
revenue/mo
2
Founders
2
Employees
product
Comfy Cup LLC
from Midwest
started August 2016
$8,400
revenue/mo
2
Founders
2
Employees
17.7M
alexa rank
185
followers
97
followers
51
subs

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Kyler, I am the inventor and co-founder of the Comfy Cup. I am currently 12-years old, but I was 8-years old when I came up with the idea to create a more comfortable athletic cup for boys.

I was frustrated by the protective athletic cup my baseball coach required boys on my team to wear. It was hard and uncomfortable. I would fidget with it in the batter’s box, on the field, and in the dugout. It was a constant interference from focusing on the game. I tried a variety of athletic cups available in sporting goods stores and online, but couldn’t find a better solution.

Instead of whining about it, my parents challenged me to come up with a solution. And now, I hit a homerun! Comfy Cup is changing the game for youth boy athletes. My simple invention has grown into a successful business venture for me and my family. Comfy Cup is now available on Amazon and The Grommet and in my local Scheels sporting goods store.

I have sold Comfy Cups in all 50 states, plus Canada and Australia. My company grossed over $100,000 last year which helped fund my college savings and my Roth IRA.

how-a-12-year-old-started-a-100k-athletic-cup-product

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I loved playing baseball, but felt that the hard athletic cup I was required to wear was, well, a pain in the crotch. I tried almost every youth athletic cup on the market and nothing felt comfortable.

Starting a business seems like a really hard thing to do, but it is really just lots and lots of tiny steps in the direction you need to go.

Honestly, I threw a fit about wearing it before every practice and game, but I had to wear it. During one of my pre-game frustrations, my mom said, "If you don't like something. Quit whining about it and come up with a solution!"

The very next day, I came up with an idea to invent a more comfortable athletic cup.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing the product.

I shared my idea with my mom and she was on-board right away. We went to the craft store and bought some supplies. My mom got out her sewing machine and we worked together to create the idea I had in my mind. It took lots of trial and error, but after 10 prototypes, support from design experts, and lots of testing we finally landed on our current design.

My idea has come a long way since the summer of 2014 when my mom and I sewed the first Comfy Cup prototype. It started out as a chance for me to learn to be a problem solver and see my ideas to completion. But, now it has evolved into a real-life “learn to start a business experiment”.

Our kid-created youth athletic cup is made from flexible, breathable molded foam that contours to the body, and is sized to fit boy athletes ages 7-11 years old just starting out with contact sports. We understand the importance of teaching young athletes the habit of wearing athletic protective equipment. We also understand first-hand that young boys dislike the feeling of wearing an uncomfortable hard athletic cup. Comfy Cup offers a unique product that keeps boys both safe and comfortable while learning to play contact sports.

Manufacturing

Comfy Cups are manufactured in China.

We are blessed to have the connection with a Family friend who facilitates the relationship between Comfy Cup and the factories. We wouldn’t be where we are today without our friend, Tony.

The cost to manufacture a Confy Cup is $2.79/ piece for a minimum order quantity of 3,000 pieces. We sell the for $7.49 wholesale and $14.99 retail. Comfy Cups are available for purchase on AMAZON, THEGROMMET, OUR COMFY CUP WEBSITE, SCHEELS OF OVERLAND PARK.

The bulk of our sales come through:

  • Amazon: 91%
  • Our website: 5%
  • The Grommet: 2%
  • SCHEELS: 2%

Our Gross Revenue in 2018 was $101,000. We are currently in the process of obtaining a registered trademark, but we do not hold a patent.

how-a-12-year-old-started-a-100k-athletic-cup-product

Describe the process of launching the business.

You know that saying, “If you build it, they will come”? Well, that has been the case for Comfy Cup.

I have learned it’s important to just get started. Do one thing today to move you towards your dream and just keep doing that every day.

We created the Comfy Cup™, put it on Amazon and it has grown organically by word of mouth.

We spent less than $2,000 on paid advertising on Google Ads and Amazon Ads last year. Our sales increased 196% from 2017 to 2018.

We began by fulfilling orders ourselves from our home office/warehouse with a drop-ship relationship on Amazon.

We moved to FBA in March 2018, which helped increase our sales and our revenue.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

The best decision we ever made was to move from seller-fulfilled to fulfillment by Amazon. It gave us more free time to focus on marketing and networking, made Prime Shipping available to our customers, and increased our sales significantly. Our Amazon seller fees increased when we made this shift, decreasing our net income on each sale, but the increase in sales more than made up for this.

We believe partnerships with vendors and customers is key to success. Our partnership with The Grommet increased our presence in the marketplace—plus they created some beautiful copy and content to showcase our product.

We love our customers and want them to love the Comfy Cup. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If the Comfy Cup™ isn’t right for you, we will give you a refund. No questions asked—sweaty, smashed, opened package… whatever. If you don’t love the Comfy Cup we will refund your purchase.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We have sold Comfy Cups in all 50 states, Europe, Australia, and Canada. To date, we have sold over 10,000 Comfy Cups. This year we are launching a new color.

We are sticking with what we know...for now we only offer one size for boys ages 7-11. My hope is that Comfy Cup™ will be the solution for boys all over the world who are looking for a softer safer solution for athletic protection.

I really just want to help kids enjoy the sports they live safely with less uncomfortable distractions. The financial success is great, but it isn’t the mission the drives us. Don’t get me wrong...We are thrilled beyond measure at the success of Comfy Cup.

I am happy to say that I have a retirement fund and college fund started thanks to Comfy Cup. My family and I feel blessed to live a life where we get to leverage our life experiences, love for sports, and unique creative talents to materialize a product that helps kids live better and have more fun.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Starting a business seems like a really hard thing to do, but it is really just lots and lots of tiny steps in the direction you need to go.

I have learned it’s important to just get started. Do one thing today to move you towards your dream and just keep doing that every day.

Before you know it, you will look back and be amazed at how far you have come.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We love selling on Amazon. We use TaxJar to help us track sales tax. We also use Shopify for our brand website/e-commerce.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Our greatest resources have come from our local community. We presented at our local One Million Cups chapter and gained so many connections and supports.

Additionally, our local inventors center chapter has given us the resources to pursue intellectual property protection at a reasonable price as well as opportunities to help other inventors.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Don’t give up on your dream. People will try to talk you out of it. Don’t listen. Just keep going forward. You will get there.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  

Kyler Russell,   Founder of Comfy Cup LLC

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