Where does an idea come from and how does that idea grow into such a successful business venture?  This is the question we posed to Darren Turner, General Manager of Cuppacoffeecup.


The Cuppacoffeecup dream began in 2012.  Darren, along with many entrepreneurial Kiwis, was looking to start his own business.  And like many entrepreneurial Kiwis, he had many ideas.  One of them was to create a reusable, recyclable coffee cup that could replicate the designs that were already on single use cups in cafés.  Like many Kiwis, he enjoyed his daily cup of coffee from his local café and thought there must be a better way to stop all those disposable cups ending up in our landfill – there must be a better sustainable option.


The initial reusable cup idea was to create a simple, but effective, reusable cup that everyone could use, and then create a designer version which could sell for a higher price through cafés.  Darren let his fingers do the walking and started searching online for a product designer, which he found.  The initial concept was quite vague, but the idea was to create a takeaway coffee cup which had the same look and feel as a single use disposable cup.  The idea behind this premise was that if the reusable cup could mirror the look and feel of a disposable cup, then the transition of use to reusable would be easy.


After about six months of toing and froing a working concept had been developed, one which did replicate a disposable cup and allowed the user to feel the warmth of the coffee through the cup to enhance the coffee drinking experience.


Darren said, “We spent $1000 on one mock-up cup to see what they would look like, and then took a leap of faith and created a tool to make the cups.”  And this was how Cuppacoffeecup was borne, however, it wasn’t black like it is today, it was pink!


The end result was so perfect that only one version of the Cuppacoffeecup was necessary as the look and price point were perfect to suit all markets.


Cuppacoffeecup initially launched with 12 designs.  Eight were created by the concept designer and the other four were designed by New Zealand artist, Greg Straight.  Darren said, “I initially asked Greg as I liked his work.”  No one knew the likelihood of Cuppacoffeecup succeeding and whether New Zealanders would like the concept and get behind this New Zealand made design, but they did!


Like most new business ventures, Cuppacoffeecup started slow, but Darren was lucky enough to gain great traction with some good customers that made the first few years of trading a lot easier.  With this backing, he was able to take the next step and further Cuppacoffeecup as a business when he looked to move to a full range of artist designed cups.  At this point, other New Zealand artists were approached – Tony Cribb, Jason Kelly, Angie Dennis and Tony Ogle.  “All of these artists were very supportive, and we are forever grateful!”.


With this fantastic artist range available and forever expanding, Cuppacoffeecup was able to sell into the gift channel which is now one of the main retail channels.  And from there, the business continued to grow, and is also now able to offer customisation to other businesses wishing to promote their own brands.  Customisation is a part of the business that continues to grow as businesses understand the importance of promoting their own brand while supporting sustainability.


You may ask, where did the name Cuppacoffeecup come from?  Darren said “Like most new brands, it came from a brainstorming session with my wife Monique.”  He also was given some guidance and parameters to work towards from the product developer.  The main piece of advice given was to keep the name short!  The name Cuppacoffeecup was chosen as the second letter and second to last letters were a “u” so they thought that could be used to look like cups.  Also knowing that they could secure “.co.nz” and “.com” domains was extremely important and, as luck would have it, the Cuppacoffeecup domain name was free.  Darren also liked the alliteration in Cuppacoffeecup.  They also toyed with the idea of “Mycup”, but Cuppacoffeecup was clearly the winner on the day.


The continued success of Cuppacoffeecup is attributed to being a New Zealand owned and operated family orientated business that provides a sustainable made in New Zealand product that supports New Zealand artists who provide inspiring and desirable Kiwiana designs for the cups.  It’s clearly a winning formula.