Smiley Cups: Lehigh Best Friends Launch Sustainable Small Business

As a 19-year-old female college student, I have a few priorities. I want to be practical and benefit my community– but I also want to look cute while doing it.

Smiley Cups, a water bottle business created by Lehigh seniors Lily Krahmer and Eloise Trout, helps me do just that. 

Smiley Cups started in Aug. 2021 and launched the second week of Lehigh’s fall semester. 

I have never felt so classy, yet environmentally friendly, than when I walk around campus with a Smiley Cup in my hand.

Originally from Massachssetts and Chicago, Krahmer and Trout met their freshman year at Lehigh. Since then, the two best friends joined the same sorority, and have lived together their past three years.

Smiley Cups was created with a mission to reduce plastic waste, Krahmer and Trout said. 

This past summer, the seniors reflected on areas where their college lifestyle could use improvement. 

“Honestly we hate the amount of plastic we use on a daily basis,” Trout said. 

To combat this issue, Krahmer and Trout went online to look for tumblers. When they failed to find anything both reusable and cute, they did not give up on their mission to reduce plastic waste. 

“Let’s just try to design something ourselves,” the two thought. 

Krahmer’s marketing major and Trout’s design minor helped their business idea come to fruition.

Since their sustainable bottle launch, the duo has sold approximately 220 cups this semester. While most of the brand’s support has come from the Lehigh community, students from other colleges have helped the brand flourish as well.

On Aug. 30, the Smiley Cups instagram was created. They have managed to market their brand through social media in hopes of reaching other universities and inspiring them to reduce plastic consumption. 

The logo for smiley cups is a giant smiley face with two middle fingers on both ends of the smile.

In creating a design, their priority was to promote positivity, but also to address the ongoing hardships in today’s world. 

 “This past year has been hard for a lot of people,” Krahmer said. “We want to say ‘F you’ to all those things, and keep the positivity up.”

The biggest challenge for the small business has been content. Word of mouth and instagram is the primary way that smiley cups have reached consumers. 

 A website is the next step in the Smiley Cup adventures, the co-founders said.

Smiley Cups come in a variety of colors which have only grown since the initial launch. On Sept. 8, the brand launched a new color, “watermelon.” 

A new design is in the works for the environmentally positive brand in hopes to expand product inventory. 

You can order your own Smiley Cup in their Instagram bio. Cups are sold for $12 or $20 for two.

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