CUPPY Update #3: TAIWANfest and more!

Hi all!

In the last four months, our team has been through lots of highs and lows (as all new ventures will). Through it all, we’ve been focused on our commitment to reducing single use waste and all of our decisions have been made with that goal in mind.

We’re excited to share that our first batch of cups and lids are almost done production and should arrive before the end of the month. These are the cuppys we’ll be using during our pilot period as we work towards proving and improving our model (more on that later).


Now the most exciting news: CUPPY will be partnering with TAIWANfest 2019 as one of their green initiatives to reduce the event’s footprint. If you haven’t heard about TAIWANfest, check them out at https://taiwanfest.ca/vancouver

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From August 31st to September 2nd, we will have two booths at the festival where attendees can pay a deposit to use cuppys throughout the day. We’re excited to be present to raise awareness, get contact information and sign up members!

THAT'S RIGHT - CUPPY is gearing up and will be ready to sign up members to participate in our pilot. We will be revealing our partner locations closer to TAIWANfest so stay tuned! Our whole team is super excited to get CUPPY out there for our members to use.

We’re so grateful for your patience and support. Please come visit us at TAIWANfest next month!

With big things to come,
The CUPPY team

CUPPY Update #2 - Vendor List, Crowdfunding, and Something New!

Hello CUPPY-ers,
 
It’s the end of March and we’re here to update everyone on what we’ve been up to.

The CUPPY team has had the privilege to be a part of e@ubc’s 2019 Social Venture Incubator program. We've been attending bi-weekly workshops and working with incredible mentors to make CUPPY a real solution to tackle the challenge of reducing the use of disposable cups.

We know we said we were going to have a preliminary list of partner vendors in March – unfortunately it’s taking longer than we expected. We’re a small team of volunteers which means we have limited manpower and it often takes several attempts to find the right person to talk to at a store. Despite this, we are still making every effort to continue to talk to and on-board vendors. We know that we need to find a group of like-minded people to have the highest chance of success so we’re asking YOU, our community. If you are a beverage shop owner, or know someone who operates one, or want to be part of this initiative in any way, please get in contact with us. We’d be extremely grateful for the opportunity. With your help, we can launch CUPPY in Vancouver sooner rather than later.

The CUPPY team is also preparing for our crowdfunding campaign. We’ve studied different types of shared programs and found that having an unsustainable financial model is what caused many of them to fail. We know that government grants are something we’re likely to be ineligible for right now, and we’d also be wary of relying on them too much in the future. With that in mind, we’re turning to crowdfunding to get financial support from the general public and also to gauge interest in our idea. We have spent many hours figuring out what makes a successful campaign and, just as we were struggling to find someone to make a video for the campaign, the universe delivered a film producer right next to one of our team members on the lift at Cypress mountain. A TOTAL GOD SEND!  We’re thrilled to work with Christian and Sebastian from @GOODNEIGHBOUR. We know we are going to make an epic video together. Our aim is to kick off the campaign by the end of April.

Some more exciting news to share – we heard feedback that many of you wanted to see lids included in the program. We agreed that it is a good idea, so we decided to offer lids as an option. We will include a basic lid without a straw with each cuppy. You will still have the option to purchase your own personal lid which includes a bendable silicone straw. Soon we will reveal our basic lids - keep an eye on our social media!

Thank you for your continued support and patience. Rest assured that we are working on this problem and trying to give CUPPY every chance to be a success.
 
Sincerely,
The CUPPY team

CUPPY's first update and some (more) FAQs!

First, we wanted to say thank you for taking this first step with us. We’re excited to have you join CUPPY and contribute to solving Vancouver’s zero waste problem together. We have received overwhelming support and valuable feedback in a short amount of time which gives us a lot of confidence in our approach to this issue of waste.

At CUPPY, we value transparency and honesty. We want to keep you informed of our status, process, and vision. We will not pretend to be perfect, and will continue to work hard to refine our system to tackle this problem more effectively.

In this first update from CUPPY, I’d like to answer questions and concerns you brought up in the survey. We take them very seriously and are grateful for your invaluable feedback and comments.

Thank you again for being a part of CUPPY.

Abner Tsai,
Founder, CUPPY


+ What are the locations and/or participating vendors?

We have had conversations with different vendors across the city ranging from coffee shops, juiceries and bubble tea cafes. Many have expressed interest in our program and we have been working together to create a model that makes sense for everyone. Our hope is to have a starting list of partners by early March.

As we are still at the early stages of this initiative, we want to be clear that it may take some time to develop a list of partnered vendors. Our goal is to have as many partners as possible in order to increase the convenience of CUPPY while also having the largest impact to reduce the use of disposable cups.

We have garnered interest on our own, but having more enthusiastic voices such as yourselves join the conversation would definitely incentivize vendors to take action. Rest assured that we are working hard to bring more vendors on board and will provide more updates as they become available.

+ How do I purchase a lid?

Once CUPPY has launched, you will be able to buy your lid online or at participating vendors.

+ Can you share membership?

Each membership includes a unique token that can be used to check out a maximum of 2 cuppys. In theory, you could share a membership between family members to save on membership costs (e.g. 2 memberships between a family of 4). There are no restrictions on sharing membership, as long as the parties involved can work it out among themselves how to share.

+ Where are cuppys made and what are they made of?

We source our cups from a manufacturer in Taiwan and we visited the site personally to ensure our expectations on quality and FDA standards are met. As for the reasons behind material choice, we have explained the reasons behind our choices here: FAQ

+ What state is the program at right now?

We have finalized the design for our cup and lid and are gearing up for production. We plan to raise money to manufacture the initial run of cups and lids which we anticipate will be in production by the end of March. We’ve also been speaking with potential vendors and have been adding to our list of partners. We are currently on track with our project target deadlines.

+ What happens if you're at a vendor and you've forgotten the lid that you've purchased?

If you’ve forgotten your lid, there are several ways you can still use the CUPPY program. A lid is not mandatory, so you can still enjoy your drink without the lid. Our cups are also designed to fit with disposable lids or you can repurchase another lid. We realize these are not the most efficient solutions but we’ve tried to make it an easy a transition as possible and having our cups fit with disposable pieces was one of the factors that would smooth the transition between disposable cups and cuppys. We have heard the concerns regarding the lids being offered separately from the cups and we are trying to rework our plan to make this more convenient for our customers.

+ Are the lids in the share system?

Lids are currently not part of the share system as an early survey suggested many people prefer their own lids, due to hygiene concerns. There is also some logistical challenges we face if we were to offer the lids as part of the share program. We have received feedback about them being an issue for some users if the lids are purchased separately. Therefore, we may consider include lids to the program as an option for members when we work out a solution to our challenges.

+ Will cuppys be available for purchase in the future?

As our intention is to encourage people to adopt a reuse mindset, we are not offering cuppys for purchase at this point in time.

+ Will you be expanding to Metro Vancouver?

It is definitely in our pipeline to expand to Metro Vancouver. We encourage the community to speak with your local beverage shops to take us on so we can have a further reach and offer a more convenient user experience.

+ Does silicone affect the flavour of the drinks?

Silicone does not affect the flavour of any drink.

+ Can we use a disposable lid with CUPPY?

If you have forgotten your cuppy lid, you may use a disposable lid with cuppys. Our lids also fit regular size (16oz) single use cups in non-participating cafes. We designed our cups to be usable with disposable items so that the transition for vendors and consumers from single use to cuppy will be easier.

+ I like the idea, but I am concerned about how the cup has been used

At this point in our development, we will require our vendors to make sure the cups are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. We will do frequent inspection checks to ensure our standards are met. CUPPY is hoping to set up a central cleaning facility by the end of 2019, to ensure all cups are properly cleaned and sanitized before being distributed to vendors.

+ How do you keep track of whether people will return the cups?

We use the tokens to keep track of how many cups are in a CUPPY user’s possession. You can check out up to 2 cups, and once you return a cup, you can check out another clean one.