The innovative Floating Mug

Art & Design | By Tigere Chiriga, Entrepreneur | 24 June 2013
PHOTO: © A love Supreme Production

After successfully completing my A-level examinations in 1997 at St John’s College in what was an extremely hectic year, in which I travelled on four different international tours to Dubai, Cape Town, and Johannesburg for rugby and basketball respectively. Having been selected for the Zimbabwe men’s basketball team, I followed my passion for basketball to West Palm Beach, Florida to attend university on a full basketball scholarship. It was difficult being so far away from home and family, but I was focused on successfully completing my studies.

In 2001, I was offered another scholarship to transfer to the New York Institute of Technology where I completed my undergraduate and graduate programs in business. Faced with the challenges of finding employment as a nonresident, I was eventually offered a position at a firm that would sponsor my H-1B application. Getting a firm to sponsor me was not an easy task, my advice to young individuals attempting the same journey is to start building a strong network early.

While working hard and trying to establish a career path, I started to realize that I had strong aspirations to become a business owner. It doesn’t matter what kind of problem I’m faced with; I take pride in developing unique ways of finding solutions. This kind of thinking lead me to the conception of the Floating Mug. It is a unique design for a porcelain coffee mug that elegantly integrates a coaster via the handle. It looks fantastic and it protects your furniture from heat rings.

I came up with the idea in 2008 but did not pursue development of the mug as a product due to limited knowledge of the space and a lack of resources. I managed to source a sample from a Chinese factory which I continued to use personally for about four years.

It seems timing was the only issue as the internet led to the development of crowd-funding services that actually help you launch product concepts or businesses through capital raised from individuals interested in your concept. One such service is called Kickstarter.com, and it’s how the Floating Mug Company got started.
To produce a minimum order of five hundred mugs and cover startup costs, I needed to raise at least USD15,000.

On June 21st, 2012, I put together a brief about the project and posted some pictures as well. Amazingly the project reached it’s goal in just eleven days into a forty day schedule. I ended up raising over twice the goal and generating a great deal of publicity in magazines and on the internet. The Floating Mug is now in development with the first batch of mugs scheduled for December delivery. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but I’m confident that I’ll close out the kickstarter project successfully and venture on to establishing my first business.