Saanich parent Kerry Couvelier invented a fabric drink holder that attaches to an umbrella after she started taking her son to his soccer games. She and her husband pitched the product

A drink sleeve that rescues the soccer parent

A Saanich mom invents a drink sleeve for an umbrella, and pitches it on Dragons' Den

On the endlessly rainy West Coast, this could be the answer for soccer parents and pedestrians everywhere – a drink holder that attaches to an umbrella.

The idea is simple and practical, but remained un-invented until a Saanich mom started taking her six-year-old son to weekend soccer games. With coffee and umbrella in hand, and as a busy real estate agent, she found answering her cellphone was a pain.

“Parents standing on the sidelines all have coffee,” said Kerry Couvelier, 34. “You’re juggling your umbrella when the phone rings, or you’re holding your dog, and you have to put your coffee in the wet grass.”

There had to be a better way. A first-time inventor, Couvelier came up with the idea of attaching an insulated drink sleeve to an umbrella using velcro and non-skid rubber.

Her mom dutifully sewed the many prototypes, and through trial and error, and plenty of walking around the house with drinks in fabric sleeves attached to open umbrellas, Joey on the Go was born.

She gathered a group of women to test it out and provide feedback, and consulted with a marketing company to see if it was an idea worth pursuing. All signs pointed to go. She found a manufacturer out of the U.S. and has applied for a patent on the product. “It’s been a wild ride,” she said.

The concept began about a year ago as a bit of a joke with her husband Graham Gilbert, who found it was a product whose time had come.

“I thought it was a novel idea, but thought where would it go? Who would need it? Sure enough everyone we talked to,” Gilbert said.

“Every time I’m at the field, people look and ask where I got that,” Couvelier said. “If you are going to be standing out there, you’ve got to hold your coffee.”

Couvelier and Gilbert presented the idea to the Dragons’ Den investors in Toronto three months ago, and the episode airs on Sunday, Jan. 20. “It was a once in a lifetime experience. It’s as crazy as it seems on TV,” Couvelier said. “They are a good group of people. It was fun.”

She can’t say if the Dragons gave her a deal, but Arlene Dickinson and Kevin O’Leary gave the sleeve a test run during taping. “Bruce (Croxon) could relate. He has kids that play sports,” she said.

A real test of the product starts Monday, when she launches her website joeyonthego.com. The plan is to market not only at parents who attend their kids’ outdoor sports, but to transit commuters in hubs such as Vancouver and Toronto, and consistently rainy places, such as the U.K.

“Larger cities like Toronto have a lot more commuters (than Victoria). We are definitely trying to hit the commuter market,” Couvelier said.

Dragons’ Den airs Sundays at 8 p.m. CBC television.

editor@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

Sea Cadets host a garage sale for Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground

Proceeds from a garage sale going to the Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground.

Nurse comes home to ‘dream job’ at Saanich Peninsula Hospital

Jane Fox is the first Aboriginal liaison nurse at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital

Killer clowns and chainsaw-wielding ghouls descend on Central Saanich corn maze

Fright Night takes place at Saanichton Corn Maze Oct 19, 26

Key tag program leads to new respirator at Jubilee Hospital

TB Vets donate 28 life-saving respirators around B.C.

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Dog killed in alleged hit and run, Goodlife Marathon takes over city and more

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

The one with the ‘Friends’ photoshoot: Kelowna group recreates TV show intro

A friend’s departure prompted them to create something that really says, “I’ll be there for you”

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Most Read