Lollacups on Backorder

Some of you may have noticed that Lollacups have been backordered since we appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank, and now, you are actually unable to complete a purchase on our webstore.  This is not an error.  Allow me to explain . . .

As it stands, we have many unfulfilled orders and many eager customers waiting to receive their Lollacups.  And, as many of you know from watching our pitch on ABC’s Shark Tank, we are a small business who is now fortunate to have Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec on board as investors.

Being on Shark Tank and ABC World News gave our business an incredible boost, and we could never have anticipated this kind of response.  Now that we have received funding, we, along with our investors, have decided to make improvements to our production molds and our product.

We anticipate that this process may take 10-12 weeks, but we will keep you updated on our progress through various social media outlets.  We are also happy to answer any questions, so please call us at 310-776-5655 or email us at hello@lollacup.com.

When we have plenty of the new (and improved) Lollacups in stock, we will let everyone know ASAP.  We ask for your patience and support as we work on Lollacup 2.0, if you will.

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Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. – Meryl Streep

Today my older daughter brought over an old mermaid costume that had been sitting, untouched, in her “dress-up” drawer for months.  It was torn to pieces, and she asked me to fix it, so she could wear it again.  I looked at her in silence for several reasons:

1. She could not have chosen a worse time to ask me to find the sewing machine, recall how to use it, and repair her costume.

2. I know the basics of using a sewing machine, but I’ve never attempted to repair a polyester costume that is virtually torn to shreds.

A mother-daughter moment captured by the talented photographer, Caroline Tran

For some reason, this very short exchange led me to think about all the things my grandmother and mother are able to do, and I am not.  What happened along the way?  Can you imagine if we were able to retain all the skills our parents had and couple that with our current education level and tech savvy – we’d be super-parents.  I’m picturing myself cooking up some old family recipe after sewing matching outfits for my girls, and facebooking and tweeting photos along the way.

Since Mother’s Day is fast-approaching, I keep thinking of all the things I wish I could do like my mom.  Yes, there are many things I try my best to do differently, but there are those general skills,  recipes, and nuggets of know-how, that I hope to someday learn/acquire and be able to pass on to my own daughters.  For now, as I try and develop this elusive skill-set, thank goodness for Google, DIY blogs, and YouTube!  I just had to quote Meryl Streep, because every day is really about the essentials.

Why We Decided to Enter the Shark Tank (and Lessons Learned)

I know we’ve been shamelessly plugging our appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank this Friday, April 27th, and I should’ve realized that doing this has been an open invitation to questions galore.  So, this week, I decided to focus my blog posts on Shark Tank-related topics, so here goes . . .

Lollacup standing in line at the Shark Tank
Season 3 Open Casting Call

  1. Why did you decide to enter the Shark Tank?  My husband and I have been big fans of the show since Season 1, when Lollacup was just an idea.  The friends who introduced us to the show would joke that we should try out for the show.  Fast-forward 2 years, and we had actually launched Lollacup and were running the business full-speed.  As many small businesses do, we needed more money to help pay for growth.  Why not try and get funding, national TV exposure, and strategic business partners in one shot?  We’ve had many discussions with people about the pros and cons of going the Shark-Tank-route.  Some have argued that it is pure stupidity to sell a part of a growing business for such little money.  I agree, to some extent, but every business is different.  If there were some magic formula, we would all be millionaires.  We thought about our current business and where we wanted to be in a few years, and if given the opportunity, we chose to try and work with moguls in the business world.
  2. How did you actually get on the show?  We went on the Shark Tank website, and found a link that said, “want to be on the show,” followed the instructions, sent the email, and never heard back.  One night, we were perusing the site again, and saw that there was an open casting call the very next morning.  Luckily we live in the Los Angeles-area, so we arranged for childcare, filled out the 30+ page application that night, and got in line at 7 am the next morning.  We didn’t get seen till 2 pm that day, but that was the 30-second pitch that got the ball rolling for us.
  3. Is the show real or is everything scripted?  Others may have had a different experience with reality TV, but for us, everything was very real.  We were assigned 2 producers who helped guide us through the intricate process that is reality TV, but aside from some changes to the wording of our pitch, nothing was scripted.  I do have to say that what we may see on TV this Friday may be different from what we remember happening, only because an hour and a half of taping/negotiations is edited down to a few minutes.

Lessons learned and some unsolicited business advice from Lollacup:

  1. Business strategy and the decisions we make on a day-to-day basis are a crucial component of entrepreneurship, and to be frank, my husband has a solid background in business, so that’s where we have a leg up.  The contribution I bring to the table is this – I like to think like I did when I was a high school chemistry teacher and used “backwards planning” to lesson plan.  The premise is you determine your end goal, and plan all the steps to achieve that specific goal.  Many teachers like to plan around themes.  For example, just because it is the month of October, everything lesson revolves around pumpkins.  This kind of thinking, to me, sends the message that the end goal is to teach and learn about pumpkins.  Wouldn’t it be better to determine what you want students to learn, and plan lessons that move toward that goal?  I like to use this method and thinking in business too.  For example, when we first launched the product, the biggest question was, how were we going to compete with the dozen+ sippy cups on the market owned by companies like Gerber, Playtex, and the like?  Our initial goal was to build buzz and brand awareness, so our first steps were to build a unique product, package it so it stands out, and build a beautiful booth so we get noticed at tradeshows.
  2. If you have a specific goal you want to achieve, make it your obsession.  Although we didn’t start a business with the end goal of being on Shark Tank, getting in front of the “sharks” was just one short-term goal we did have, and we literally became obsessed.  We checked the same website over and over, watched the show incessantly to glean business tips from the sharks and other entreprenuers, and did whatever we could to increase our odds of getting casted on the show – honed our elevator pitch, made sure we were on top of every last detail of our business, and just tried to be candid about it all.
  3. The third lesson learned is to be overly prepared and move quickly.  We stayed up all night before the open casting call, filling out the 30-page application.  We saw so many others filling it out on the sidewalk that morning and not being able to complete it, because it actually required a lot of information that they didn’t have on hand with them.  Also, to increase our odds of getting selected for the show, we answered all Shark-Tank-related emails within minutes.

Wow!  That was a mouthful.  I can’t believe that after all this, I still have more to say on the matter.  Stay tuned for more . . .In the meantime, stay focused on your goals!

Fun Friday Giveaway

In celebration of the launch of this blog, we are giving away 1 Lollacup and 1 Straw Replacement Pack.  This is the perfect opportunity for you to give Lollacup a try, add to your collection, or gift it to someone special.  To enter, simply “Leave a Reply” at the end of this post with your favorite color.  The winner will be chosen (at random) and announced on Monday, March 26, 2012.

Infant/Toddler Straw Sippy Cup Made in USA BPA Free

Insight into the Straw vs. Sippy Cup Debate

Many parents ask us why Lollacup was designed as a straw cup rather than a traditional sippy cup.  Well, when it was time for my daughter to start drinking from something other than a baby bottle, I had no idea I would be faced with such a myriad of choices. Being a confused, first-time parent, I turned to my pediatrician who recommended I try straws, if at all possible.

If you conduct a basic internet search about transitioning your child from the breast/bottle to a sippy cup or a straw, you’ll find a slew of articles written by bloggers and the like about the advantages of straw use in infants and toddlers.  I delved a little deeper and talked with a few speech pathologists, pediatricians, dentists, and parents about the real reasons some people recommend straws over sippy cups.

Here is my take on the issue and the reasons I prefer straws over sippy cups:

– Speech advantages:  “At the therapeutic level, straws have the promise of addressing a multiple array of disorders and muscle groups far beyond traditional practice.”  taken from “Advance,” a publication for speech-language pathologists and audiologists.  If straws are frequently used in speech therapy, they must contribute to the development of important muscles that enhance or at least support speech.  You can find more interesting articles (from WebMD, Livestrong.com, etc.) on the straw vs. sippy cup debate on the FAQ page of the Lollacup website.

– Convenience: Weaning a child from anything (breastfeeding, bottles, pacifiers, thumbs, etc.) can be a nightmare, and I just didn’t see the need to wean my daughter from a bottle to a sippy cup and then later to a straw/regular cup.  I found that getting my daughters accustomed to drinking from straws or regular cups at meals and snack times meant one less thing (bottle/sippy cup) to pack when going out, since most restaurants provide small plastic cups with a lid and a straw.

As parents, we are always trying to do what’s best for our children, and everything we do on their behalf involves careful thought and consideration.  I believe that decisions like using a straw vs. a sippy cup are largely a matter of preference and may not have any long-term affects on children.

However, my husband and I weighed the options, chose to use straws with my daughters, and just couldn’t find the right cups for them, so we created the Lollacup.

Hello out there!

I got an email last week (March 5, 2012, to be exact) from someone I greatly respect and admire.  The email read, “You need to start a blog . . .”  So, I started a blog.  Although I call this the official weblog of Lollaland, the company, it’s really just a platform for me and my husband (and business partner) to share what’s relevant to us, our business, and the little ones who inspired it all.  We hope you enjoy (& engage in) all the interesting posts to come.