Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.
Sip n’ Clip, a portable drink holder for airplanes devised by a local inventor, is ready to take off.
The cup holder that clips into tray tables, which first launched on Kickstarter, is now on available on Amazon. Meanwhile, on the promotional products circuit, it has gotten into the hands of some big clients, according to the company’s founder, Seth LaPierre.
The Clarendon resident, who taught himself 3D printing to design and build a prototype, says getting the product listed by the e-commerce giant was also a big learning curve.
“I thought it was a platform you put stuff on and sell. There are so many layers to selling and marketing on Amazon,” he said.
LaPierre devised the cupholder to slot into tray tables after his wife couldn’t figure out what to do with her coffee cup on a flight to France. As a bonus, he says, it doubles as a phone stand and can hold certain baby bottles. He previously told ARLnow that there is nothing like it, specifically for airplane travel, on the market.
On Amazon, LaPierre aims to get enough reviews for Sip n’ Clip to participate in Amazon Launchpad, a service the company offers to help products get discovered faster.
“My ultimate goal is to be really proficient by the holiday season,” he said.
Earlier this year, LaPierre flew to Las Vegas to look for knock-offs and competitors at the Promotional Products Association International expo. There, he said, he did not find quite anything like it on the show floor.
“I walked 12 miles in one day, talking to people, and some said it was the best thing they had seen in years,” he said. “This was really encouraging because that’s going to be the main core of my business.”
While there, he connected with HALO, which he describes as the largest commercial product distributor in the industry, grossing some $1 billion in branded swag sales. LaPierre says the company asked him to supply Sip n’ Clips to them; after getting everything set up with HALO about a week ago, he is hopeful about the product being introduced to more corporate clients.
Sip n’ Clip will be sponsoring a corporate travel-related event in New York City as well as a airport customer experience symposium in Louisville, Kentucky, hosted by the Alexandria-based American Association of Airport Executives.
“I think that will be a really good growth opportunity and a good way to introduce Sip n’ Clip to airport channels on a larger scale,” LaPierre said. “We already have the Daytona Beach International Airport and the Akron-Canton Airport as customers.”
Additionally, LaPierre submitted a pitch to host his product on the shopping channels QVC and HSN.
“Those are huge things that I’m really excited about,” he said. “Now I’m getting more inbound leads, and people calling me and saying ‘Can you give me a quote?’ instead of me knocking doors.”
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