Silicone Sippers

Ashley Wyzinski, reporter

Many people may be unaware that the business department has an entrepreneur in its midst. Ramsey Dolesh and his wife Kandi Dolesh have been starting a new business over the past few years and have now been selling straws for about 9 mounts. The idea originated form a simple problem. Kandi Dolesh wanted to share fun and festive straws with her fitness group. When she was unable to find any she search the internet for a brand that had the type she was looking for. It turns out that no one in the United States was selling reusable straws that were larger and had patterns on them. This sparked the idea to create some herself.


The process of starting to sell their product was not simple. They had to do extensive research on how they wanted their straws to be produced. They also created a few two dimensional drawings until they decided on how they wanted their final product to look like. After gaining the basic knowledge of the process they got quotes from companies to see if they could afford to make the product. Once the a supplier was chosen and a prototype was made the Doleshs reviewed it before they decided it was ready for mass production. Both of the Doleshs explained the many features of the product. They explained that on top of everything else it is environmentally friendly.


¨The reaction has been pretty positive. People like the fact that they are environmentally friendly because they can be used over and over again. People have also voiced a liking to the flexibility of the material and the wide mouth of the straw, which makes them versatile for different types of drinks,¨ Kandi said.


Kandi and Ramsey started selling on social media. From there they created their own website and started to expand out. They now sell their straws in the metro area Hy-Vees. They also have worked on creating promotions and other deals to help attract customers. Although the product is still young it has many attributes that would be appealing to customers.

¨The high quality of the materials used makes our product stand the test of time. There is virtually no breakdown of the silicone, even after putting them through the dishwasher hundreds of times. One of the differentiating factors is that our collection of straws right now have designs on them,¨ Ramsey said.


Even after setting a plan and producing products there is still a lot more that has to be done. On top of that an entrepreneur has to see what the reaction to the product is. Sometimes that means customers and sometimes it’s the people next door.


¨Our neighbors have supported us but they have also looked at us like ‘why are you doing this or who wants this kind of straw´ . They have all bought some it’s just they don’t know where it’s going. We don’t know where it’s going either, we are trying to figure that out. There is an opportunity that we are trying to get, maybe get on shark tank and see where that goes.¨


Producing and selling a new product is not an easy nor a cheap process. It takes a large amount of time and money to get a product off the ground.


¨While this has been a lot of work, including putting in late hours after our kids go to bed and waking up early to find time to devote to this project, it has been fun and we have learned so much. There is something special about putting your own hard earned money and time into a project to call your own and that is something we don’t take for granted,¨ Kandi said.