When University of Wisconsin senior Travis Price heard his friend’s idea for a Christmas stocking that dispensed beverages, he said he immediately saw the commercial potential for a unique holiday gift.
Price and his friend Jack Mulroe, a student at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, got to work on their creation at the beginning of this year. After months of design, logistics and good old fashioned hard work, the Holiday Hangover is now available for sale, Price said.
“It’s a Christmas stocking that dispenses your drink of choice,” Price said. “It can handle anything from water and juices to alcohols, mixed drinks, hot chocolate … really anything you want.”
Price said the stocking holds about 2.25 liters — the equivalent of approximately two wine bottles. He said the stocking itself is “deceivingly large.”
The container inside the stocking that holds liquid is also dishwasher-safe and reusable, Price said. He added that the outside of the stocking is stain resistant. He said the product’s versatility is a big selling point.
“So, if you want to switch the liquid from a gin and tonic to peppermint schnapps and hot chocolate, you can do that,” Price said. “It’s made for a kitchen environment, somewhere where you can get it dirty and still use it for years to come.”
Price said Mulroe came to him with the idea for the stocking because he often works with his hands and enjoys building in his free time. After the two decided to pursue the idea, Price said he spent his summer experimenting with different materials and testing ways to dispense the liquid.
Price said designing the product was much more work than he anticipated. Challenges included constructing the container for the stocking with the right physics so that the spout at the bottom would work correctly and finding a way to securely hang the stocking, which can weigh three pounds when full.
“I’m continually frustrated with it,” Price said. “We still run into problems now. I would be up until the wee hours of the night most nights just in my head trying to figure out solutions. You don’t really realize how much effort goes into making a product but it’s a lot more than you think. But it’s the little details that make the product great.”
Price continues to face challenges as the holiday season has begun. He has to balance school with working on the company, he said. Weekly activities include conference calls with manufacturers, trademark and copyright lawyers and coordinating with Mulroe and other family members involved in the business.
The Holiday Hangover has its own page on Kickstarter, where investors can get rewards including a custom embroidered Holiday Hangover. With one week left on the investment site, Price’s company has met almost 40 percent of its goal.
Price said his advice for other entrepreneurial-minded students should just “go for it.”
“Don’t be afraid to take the leap,” Price advised his fellow self-starting students. “If you have an idea and you’re passionate about it just go for it, try it … I just think you’re gonna learn by doing, so don’t be afraid.”