KeepCup co-founder Abigail Forsyth revealed which market is the toughest for the company to crack into

KeepCup co-founder Abigail Forsyth.
  • 2019 marks 10 years since reusable cup brand KeepCup launched in Australia.
  • KeepCups are available in more than 65 countries and co-founder and Managing Director Abigail Forsyth explained why the US was the hardest country for it to launch in.
  • Forsyth also gave her thoughts on the numerous other resuable cup brands that have popped up on the scene.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Launching a product in different countries ain’t easy.

The year 2019 marks 10 years since KeepCup began in Australia, with its range of reusable cups now used in more than 65 countries around the world.

Co-founder and Managing Director Abigail Forsyth explained the US was – and remains – the hardest country for it to crack into.

“In Australia, when we went into cafes, they didn’t sell anything else,” Forsyth told Business Insider Australia. “So we came in and said, ‘We’re an alternative to disposable cups’ so it was really clear what we’re trying to do.”

However, the US was different as Forsyth said they’ve “had thermoses forever” and cafes would have walls full of merchandise. But KeepCup didn’t want to be seen as just merchandise.

“We don’t want you to just buy one every time you go to a cafe and collect them in your drawer,” she explained. “We want you to use it every day as an alternative.”

Forsyth added that UK was also a slow market for KeepCup when it launched there back in 2010 because of the country’s penchant for tea.

On the other hand, Iceland scooped up KeepCups in a heartbeat.

“They just took to it,” Forsyth said. She even mentioned that a friend came back from Iceland thinking KeepCup was from there. Forsyth believed the rapid uptake was because it’s a small island and the people are more conscious about where their rubbish goes.

Many competitors have emerged

But KeepCup isn’t the only reusable cup brand, with a plethora of other similar brands popping emerging in the market, including Frank Green, Sol and Sttoke.

Forsyth explained that what makes KeepCup stand out is that it is “a really well-designed product” and has a strong mission.

“The sincerity of our mission I think is what compels people,” she said. “Everything we do as a business backs up what we’re trying to do in the larger world. We’re trying to get rid of disposables, we reduce single use waste, [we] get rid of disposable cups and everything we do as a business supports that. So I think it’s that. It’s the authenticity.”

Asked her thoughts about the similar brands that have entered the market, Forsyth said it depends on the quality of the product.

“When they’re good alternatives, it’s great,” she said. “But when they are just crappy knockoffs, it’s bad because if people use it and go, ‘Oh, that’s no good’, they don’t enjoy the experience.”

KeepCup recently launched a range of thermal cups which can be used with either hot or cold beverages. You can even use the same lid if you already have a KeepCup.

Asked why the company decided to head into thermal cups, Forsyth said, “Because our Canadian distributor said ‘Abby, it’s minus four degrees in Calgary, so we really need a double wall’.”

Forsyth added that the company has another product in the works for 2020 that sticks to the “Keep” theme.

“We’ve got one more iteration that moves us out of cups into something else, so that’ll be coming next year.”

I guess we’ll just have to keep an eye on it.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.