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I am always interested in new businesses, entrepreneurs, and products that find their way into your routine and can no longer be lived without. JavaHook™ has this potential and has a great story of how a husband and wife team were able to make an idea become realized as a product and successful business.Jennifer Becky, the one responsible for the idea and current VP of Sales and Marketing at JavaHook™ was kind enough to talk about this great new product.
F+B: When did you start the business?
Jennifer Beckey: Several years ago, we identified the problem that most coffee-to-go lovers have experienced at one point or another, “where do I put my coffee while grocery shopping?” The inspiration behind JavaHook™ came one day when I, as always, brought my coffee shopping at my local grocer and they had removed their clever cup holders from their shopping carts. My frustration mounted as my weekend ritual (shopping with coffee) became cumbersome and messy. Frustration led to inspiration and the JavaHook™ concept was born.Shortly thereafter, Mark, my husband, transformed my inspiration into reality. Mark sought assistance from a friend to aid in the design and manufacturing of the product. For the next year, they worked together creating, designing, and manufacturing the JavaHook™.
We launched our online retail store, Monday, September 17, 2012 and headed to Seattle several days later to exhibit at Coffee Fest Seattle. JavaHook™ was featured in their New Product Showcase and won first place for Best New Product (non-consumable). This was an exciting win for us that gave us the opportunity to introduce our product to potential wholesalers, distributors and gain a wealth of knowledge.We had no idea how much time, effort and overall learning was in involved in getting what we considered a simple product from concept to market. It has been quite a journey that we are still learning from to this day.
F+B:Is this only for grocery shopping trips?
Jen: The JavaHook™ was originally designed out of necessity for shopping carts without cup holders. We later realized that is solved another problem. The JavaHook™ fits perfectly on the airline seat back tray table or magazine rack!The uses are limited only by the users creativity and a little bit of science. It needs to rest on a semi-vertical surface. We’ve seen it hooked on an iPad, car door handle while loading groceries, restroom door and index fingers while texting!
F+B:Where do you see these selling best?
Jen: We see the JavaHook™ selling best as a point of sale purchase in coffee shops and airport gift shops. We also see the product doing well in specialty stores, boutiques, grocery stores and other major retailers.We are currently seeking distribution opportunities to obtain these goals. We’ve also received a great amount of interest from corporations and businesses as a promotional item since our product can be custom branded. It’s a unique product because it’s out and about rather than something that’s stuck on an office wall or in desk drawer.
F+B:Where are the JavaHooks manufactured?
Jen: The JavaHook is made right here in the USA! We manufacture the JavaHook in California and we have multiple printers for our logos and custom branding located in California, Illinois and Texas. Yes, we could have lowered our costs by manufacturing overseas but felt it was important to keep the jobs in the US. It’s our contribution to America and we hope it makes a difference.
F+B:Is this a family business?
Jen: Yes, this is primarily a family business. We have a silent partner who assisted us with a portion of the financing, design work and operational aspects prior to our launch in September. We have received help and assistance from our friends, family and networks in various fields directly related to our specific needs and goals at that time (marketing, sales, legal, social media, advice, direction, etc.).It is a great feeling to have so many people pulling for us and offering their assistance to set us up for success! We have gotten so much free help from family and friends and are grateful for their support.
F+B:How did you get the funding to start the company?
Jen: We are self-funded through the stakeholders in the company although we are constantly networking and welcome any interest from potential investors and those who can accelerate our growth.
F+B:Your marketing materials look great, where did you have them designed?
Jen: Our marketing pieces were created by a very talented stay at home mom who does graphic design work on the side. She lives in Kerrville, TX just outside of San Antonio and we were introduced to her by a neighborhood friend.
F+B:What are your plans for the future?
Jen: Our immediate focus is to grow the business by spreading the word about the JavaHook™ through venues such as F+B Therapy, so thank you in advance for your support.We would be so excited to see our product in coffee shops and both small and large retailers. We would also love to continue to help other businesses spread the word about their brands by custom branding the JavaHook™. We are excited about launching several new products once we reach certain financial milestones.
F+B: New products?
Jen: Yes, we are looking into designing and manufacturing a reusable cup sleeve that would work with the JavaHook™ and various size coffee cups as well as reusable tumblers, soft drinks, etc. There are a few others in the pipeline that we can’t talk about at the moment.
F+B: What are some businesses that inspire you or that you learn from?
Jen: We’ve met some pretty incredible folks in the industry in the recent months thanks to the folks at Coffee Fest for encouraging us to participate not only in their show but the New Product Showcase. Businesses, to name a few, such as Java Jacket, Hot Straw and Frizz Coffee have been so supportive over the past few months sharing ideas, contacts, products, etc.
F+B: Where can we buy some?
Jen: We are selling our product online at www.javahook.com for $4.95 each. If you purchase four (4) or more hooks you receive free shipping. We will be running some specials during the holidays as well, so check us out on Facebook and Twitter. They make a great gift!