A Cocktail Shaker with a Twist













Fellow college students just like us had an idea that had the potential to turn into millions.   The Mason jar has been popular among people and restaurants for use as a drinking glass.  But what about a cocktail shaker?  When college friends Eric Prum and Joshua Williams were playing around with a Mason jar last year, and transformed into a hip new cocktail shaker, they had no idea it would turn into such a hit.  Their Mason Shaker idea was made with a Ball Mason jar and fitted  with a custom lid representing the same structure as a cocktail shaker lid.   Last November, the initial order of the shakers were introduced at West Elm stores and thousands were sold out with in just three weeks.  In January, the sales of the shakers through the Internet and the West Elm stores had reached $250,000.

In January last year, these college buddies first came up with the Mason shaker and designed it.  Later in that following July, they came across this crowd-funding website called Kickstarter.  This site helps raise money for start-up businesses.  Their goal was to raise $5,000 to help manufacture and supply their product.  They shattered their goal of $5,000 by raising $74,738 from approximately 2,000 investors in as little as a month. 

This was not the students’ first entrepreneurial engagement.  Williams, who had a passion for food and drinks, started a catering and cocktails business with his fellow friend Prum.  During the company’s events they discovered how useful these jars worked well for creating their unique cocktail concoctions.

Previously, Prum was a designer and developer for a paintball company, so he took the knowledge gain from this experience and thought to design something with his best friend – a cocktail shaker.  These friends took their product design skills and knowledge to refine their Mason jar cocktail shaker invention.  Making over hundreds of tweaks and finally happy with the final prototype, they began their business.   Prum and Williams founded the W&P Design, a Brooklyn-based product design company.  Then they launched the Mason jar shaker on Kickstarter.  Prum was working as a full-time managing partner, while Williams still employed in his banking job, working as an adviser on product development and business strategy – 2 important operations management tasks.  Then they launched their product by a good deal with a home goods chain called West Elm. 

The company is already profitable, but it’s still very much in startup mode.   They are both hoping that through their skills and knowledge, they will achieve longevity in their business.

I believe these students turned a simple idea into a creative invention that became popular and profitable, but it maintained its profitability and exceeded it through knowledgeable decisions on operating their business.

Prum and Williams, a pair of wise college students made very intelligent and correct operations decisions in their start-up business to not only reach goals, but exceed them.  Their Mason jar shaker was a success and their future decisions will continue to show how successful the shaker can be and how their business will progress.

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9 thoughts on “A Cocktail Shaker with a Twist

  1. Wow! What a fascinating article. I am very impressed that a pair of college kids were able to invent a product, that I would have never guessed, to have been as successful as it has. Clearly, they paid attention in management class. It is really gratifying to hear that these two kids were able to make it big. I’m sure it took a lot of time and energy to do so, but they pulled it off. They really marketed the shaker well and took all the necessary precautions to see that it took off. Great article.

  2. This was an interesting post. I think the mason jar shaker is a cute idea but does it have longevity in the market? I think it will be like the Snuggie. Now you see it now you don’t. Coming up with a lid to change a mason jar into a shaker is excellent but their costs have to be high because they are using such a well know product. I hope these kids remain successful with their idea. Do you think this product has longevity in the market?

  3. I think I would agree with the above post. Although the concept is clever and fun, I doubt they will actually continue to survive in the market. These college start ups seem to gain a lot of media attention because I feel they have many admirers. People want to believe that there is some short-cut to getting their degree and climbing the ranks of the corporate world. The articles portray the owners of start ups as people who just had a good idea and got lucky. In reality, I bet they faced many obstacles. Classes and grades probably took a backseat during much of the growth period or maybe they had to forgo some bar crawls. I think these articles tend to leave out the struggles because when you get right down to, the readers don’t want to hear of the struggles. They just want to hear the cinderella story.

  4. Very interesting article because I would have never thought to use a mason jar for a cocktail shaker. I would definitely have to agree with the above two comments because I don’t see it surviving in the market for a long time. Yes, it is a trendy and fun way to serve cocktails, however will it be trendy for a long time in the future? I think it is great how they exceeded their original goal of $5,000 and ended up with approximately 2,000 investors. This really is a huge accomplishment. I also agree with Laurena25 in that the story does not tell about the struggles the college students had to endure in order to get where they are today. The article should definitely highlight more of the hard times and struggles they had to endure, in order to succeed. This article also made me realize that we can take simple, everyday objects and turn them into more complex and useful items.

  5. Nice topic choice. I think the Mason jar cocktail shaker has great selling potential. The Mason jar has always been a quirky and makeshift way to serve drinks that’s low cost and aesthetically pleasing. This story in particular really emphasizes the value the new business generation places on the entrepreneurial spirit, which is about taking what we have and implementing it into a new and improved idea, which is exactly what they did with the Mason jar cocktail shaker. It’s that drive towards entrepreneurship that explains why this era in business is marked with an unprecedented number of start-up businesses, with Chicago quickly emerging as one of the top start-up hub cities. I think another interesting aspect of this story is how they used Kickstarter to fund their business venture. Kickstarter is another aspect that really speaks to the entrepreneurial spirit because it allows other to place their faith and their money into what they believe has potential to grow and become something great. Many start-up businesses and independent artistic projects such as films, books, music, etc have been funded through Kickstarter and “angel investors”.

  6. I love how such a simple idea, adjustment, or rearrangement can really boost something so incredible and profitable. It really shows the potential that these two people have as entrepreneurs and that it also does not take a very complicated idea to start something that impacts everyone. It also shows that they made very smart decisions in their investments and it really proved so with their success showing. This is a very good article.

  7. I have came across these recently and always wondered how it started. I thinks awesome how they used kickstart to fund the project. I have visited the site before and found some great interesting projects. Some of which I would buy into. I think kickstart is great as how this article shows how it help start up these college students business. Technology is so much more and it could do some amazing things.

  8. This story is very inspiring. It makes me feel like dreams really can come true with hard work and dedication. I’m so happy it worked out for these friends. When discussing longevity, it seems like many of my classmates and I believe that mason jar cocktail shakers are a fad and demand could easily decrease as time goes on. However, if the friends keep the product fresh and updated by changing the color, shape, and size every so often, they may be able to keep their customer’s interest for years to come.

  9. Very interesting article! I love the story behind it, and the idea of repurposing of a very old product. I recently read an article in Advertising Age about the success of Ball products and other mason jars recently. They attributed most of its increased profit to the DIY movement and Pinterest. I wonder if the success of this new product is for the same reason. People are on the hunt for DIY, recycled, and authentic goods to make their home and style more eclectic. This product shows how important it is to key in on emerging trends early.

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