Senior communication and media arts major, Tre Cameron, always walks to class with a cup holder clipped onto his backpack like a keychain. This cup holder, formally named the “Cup Holster,” clips onto any desk or table, avoiding spills and maximizing workspace. Cameron carries his Cup Holster like a necessity, attaching it onto every desk or table he uses on campus.
Cameron started his cup holder business six months ago with his friend Michael Campbell, a senior computer science major at Washington State University. Together, they came up with the idea after Campbell accidentally spilled a drink all over his laptop keyboard. Campbell’s keyboard after the incident could not be repaired, resulting him having to go through the inconvenient and costly process of buying a new one. Cameron explained that in that moment they realized that if Campbell had a cup holder, the spill would have never happened.
“We just wanted to eliminate that problem from ever occurring again,” Cameron said.
After they came up with the idea, they created a prototype for the Cup Holster and reached out to manufacturers. Once they manufactured their first cup holder, they promoted their invention using Kickstarter. Thanks to their supportive family members and friends, they are now manufacturing their cupholders and will sell them across the country.
The Cup Holster is composed of a compartment that holds the drink container and a knob that adjusts to the size of any desk. It also comes with a hole at the bottom intended to fit a phone charger, allowing for cellphones to be placed in the holder while maintaining their charge.
Cameron explained that he has always been interested in selling his own inventions. He recounted a memory of himself going door to door selling paper snowflakes in his hometown of Palm Desert, California. Since there was no snow in California, he wanted to sell a product that he felt could be useful for the holidays.
“I was interested in being able to make something and offer it to other people,” Cameron said.
Even though they started only six months ago, the business hasn’t stopped growing ever since. Cameron explained that the sales are averaging to 20 cupholders being sold each day. He hopes to increase his sales on campus because he thinks it will be useful to all students at Montclair State University, especially those using expensive technology in their classes.
“There is a lot of technology that is used in our building and having drinks, even water, can be detrimental. Having these in every classroom and every desk will help prevent spills and I think it will be a useful tool for everyone to have,” Cameron said.
Cameron plans to create more products with Campbell in the future and sell them nationwide. Although he wants to continue to add different features to the cup holder, including colors such as red and gray, he has other business ventures in mind too. He hopes that his experience selling the cup holder will give him the skills to continue being successful selling his future inventions.
“We are hoping the cup holder is a catalyst for our future ventures. Through this, we are hoping to learn a lot about building a product,” Cameron said.
The cup holder is currently being sold on Amazon and more information can be found on Instagram, @thecupholster.
“You can have an idea but if you don’t have a strategy to make it happen, it’s just going to stay in your head,” Cameron said.