Crowdfunding a 10-year-old's cup design for her grandad, who's got Parkinson's; and her dad, who is a klutz

Lily is a ten year old girl who's into pottery. Her grandpa has Parkinson's disease and is prone to spilling his coffee due to his tremors, and so she invented the "Kangaroo Cup," a stackable, reusable cup that is hard to knock over or spill from (she modified it for her dad's use, so that he wouldn't spill coffee in his keyboard anymore, too). It's got a inward-curving lip to make it less spill-prone when you carry it, and its legs make it super-stable (you also don't need a coaster for it).

Lily's dad is a product designer who's brought other products to market successfully, so he and his daughter are raising funds on IndieGoGo for bulk manufacture (in JingDeZhen, China) and sale.

We are launching this project to fund our first production run of 1000 pieces. The samples pictured here and in the video are 1st production samples made at the same facility that will do the production run. The facility we've selected for this first run is not a mass production, low cost factory, but a high quality porcelain producer that generally makes decorative vases and tea pots and such. They make the kind of ceramics that JingDeZhen is famous for: "white as jade, bright as a mirror, and harmonic as a bell." In addition, because they are high temperature fired, they are stronger and less porous that standard ceramics. This makes them more hygienic, easier to clean and harder to stain.

We chose JingDeZhen for our source because of the high quality and the ability of the artisans there to help us work through our initial production issues. If the project is successful, we will likely need to move to more conventional manufacturing sources to reduce cost, but today, JingDeZhen China provides a nice reward for our early supporters.

No Spill Kangaroo Cup (Thanks, Alex!)


  1. I like that.  Here’s hoping for an espresso version as well. Yes, i know that’s silly but I enjoy collection oddball espresso cups.

  2. For some odd reason it reminds me of the raktajino mug.

    (But this would be a billion times easier to clean.)

    1. Not to mention that it would be dead simple to design a bracket that would allow it to be hangable in a car/boat/etc.

  3. way to work on finding ways to keep that production in the US!  Seriously–i would be willing to bet their first production run is less than 1000 pieces, there are plenty of production potteries capable of doing just that.  As for the whole spiel about higher temperatures, white as jade, blahblahblah–thats a load of marketing BS.  Most sanitary ware is fired to cone 10, here or in china.  White clay is simple to come by in our now globalized economy.  Neither of those two things are really concerns–the reason you source your production in china is because of the readily available slave labor.

      1. I apologize–as a working potter this struck a nerve–not that this excuses my snark, i should have composed myself before replying.

    1. I normally don’t have an issue with buying foreign-made things that were traditionally imported- like, you know, china from China.

      1. Actually, most “china” that you find in the US in terms of raw material is actually grolleg porcelain imported from the UK by the container load…  Also, the US has its own rich tradition of pottery making, see american salt-glazed stoneware for examples.

      2. Personally, I don’t have a problem with high quality imports from anywhere. Most of the problems come from importers dumping crap goods; companies producing quality work at least have to treat their employees better than the local average.

      3. That’s fine if you want to go back to the days of economic serfdom.  Few people alive remember the the hardship of when we had to import all our ice from Iceland, turkey from Turkey, poles from Poland and ukuleles from Ukraine.

  4. occupyordie:  I’m all ears about production in the US, a couple others have given me the names of some factories in OH and I’ll contact them on Monday.  If you have names or tips for locating others, please let me know:

  5. I respect the fact that she did this first and foremost for a disabled family member — not just to be cool or make a buck. Good for her.

  6. I wonder if there’s a way to combine the gyro bowl concept into this to make it even more stable and still drinkable.

    A direct translation wouldn’t work, sure, since the bowl is meant to be “spill proof” but I could see some applications where it could add a little extra safety.

    1. That was my thought too: a gimbal-mounted inner cup, that would stay vertical when the outer portion with the handles tips.

      Then again, that would make drinking difficult!

      Maybe put a button or trigger on the handles that would lock the inner cup when you want to take a drink.

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