My brother Jamie and I founded the Bluebag startup in 1998. Our six stores in Melbourne, Australia – sold fresh sandwiches, salads and of course coffee, in a takeaway format. We became increasingly concerned about our contribution to landfill - convenience at too high an environmental cost. We looked lots of reusable to go alternatives, from soup mugs to salad containers, but it was the to go cup that was most conspicuous and voluminous piece of disposable packaging.
We tried to find a suitable commuter mug– but they were bulky, ugly, didn’t fit under the espresso machines and came in irregular sizes. We thought about making our own but the costs were prohibitive and we always returned to the question –will people wash their mug?
In the meantime I started a family, each morning and night I would give my daughter her warm milk in a sippy cup –while at work I would have a coffee each morning and afternoon in a to go disposable cup. The idea of giving my daughter her milk in a disposable cup seemed wrong – so why was it ok for me? It was then I knew,it was not, will people wash their cup – we have to, we have no choice. It was all about behaviour change.
We engaged Cobalt Niche industrial design to bring our idea to life. Two years later in June 2009 we saw the first KeepCups come off the line. First sold at a Design Market in Melbourne the response was overwhelming. There was a blogger there that day fro Los Angeles based Apartment Therapy. A few days later we got our first positive review of the KeepCup and watched in amazement as we logged sales across five US states. From the start we have been a global business and it has been really amazing to watch our campaign gain momentum across the US and around the globe.