Lollacup sippy cups and their accompanying mealtime set are winning new fans worldwide after the leader of Lollaland appeared on ABC's contest show for entrepreneurs, "Shark Tank."
Parents worried about children's exposure to chemicals are gravitating to Lollaland products because theyy're made without BPA, phthalates or melamine. Others are on board because the products just work so well. Martha Stewart calls Lollacups "so simple, so cute, so functional," and celebrities such as Sandra Bullock and Jay-Z have been spotted carrying them for their children.
"I feel like this company and its products are growing alongside my family and children," says Hanna Lim, president of Lollaland. "It's touching to know that the Lollacup has helped children transition successfully to a cup, that it's the only cup that child will use, or that it was used by an 85-year-old Alzheimer's patient who was bedridden and unable to drink independently before she was given a Lollacup."
Lim came up with the Lollacup after watching her 9-month-old daughter drinking from a straw. Lim's pediatrician recommended she wean her daughter to straw cups rather than traditional sippy cups, but Lim found that her daughter could barely drink from the straw cups, despite trying different brands and types. After learning from other women that their own children had the same problem, she created the Lollacup.
"The cup is valve-free, so it is easy for children to sip and parents to clean, and the weighted straw stays anchored in the liquid so young children do not need to keep the cup upright in order to drink," Lim says.
The cups are available in red, orange, green, blue, pink and black. They are easy to use, easy to clean, BPA-free, made in the USA and "just plain attractive," Lim says.
The success of the Lollacup inspired Lim to create the Lollaland Mealtime Set, a dining set that complements the Lollacup. The idea also came from her daughter, who simply could not have her ketchup touching any food on her plate. Lim had trouble finding plastic plates that were not made of melamine, a compound some parents are trying to avoid, so she created her own. The mealtime set is made of high-quality polypropylene, so the pieces are durable, BPA-free, phthalate-free and microwave- and dishwasher-safe. Each set has a bright round bowl, a colorful square plate and a triangular dipping cup. The shapes make the set both functional and educational.
"The dipping cup is the perfect shape for small hands and is great for condiments and portion control," Lim says. "Bold colors and simple shapes make mealtime fun and educational."
After only three months of business, Lollaland was selected to participate in "Shark Tank," a show where entrepreneurs compete to win over a panel of potential investors.
"I can't remember the last time I sweat that much," Lim says about her experience.
"Shark Tank" investor-judges Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec bought 40 percent of the company, and since appearing on the show, Lim has moved the business out of her garage and into her own warehouse, hired several employees and is in the process of developing new products.
Lim describes the success of her products as "indescribable" and hopes that Lollaland will continue to flourish.
"Selling the first Lollacup made my heart skip a beat. Being on 'Shark Tank' was great publicity, and taking on investors was exciting, but growing the company and brand is hard work. We are constantly selling and making improvements to our current products, and we have new product ideas in the works, but we are being cautious and trying to grow organically, as well," she says. "My hope is that Lollaland products will one day be the first in people's heads when they think of baby/children's products."
Visit Lollaland.com for more information about Lollaland products and a list of stores that carry them.