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

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

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp said they are aware of hateful graffiti spray-painted in an area of the forest surrounding the campus. The graffiti in question includes anti-Semitic content and a racial slur towards Black people. (Facebook/Royal Roads University)
Anti-Semitic, hateful graffiti spotted in forest near Royal Roads University

Royal Roads working with West Shore RCMP to remove graffiti “as soon as possible”

A cougar was spotted at Royal Roads University on Sunday, Jan. 24. The sighting was reported on the western edge of the campus. (File photo)
Cougar spotted at Royal Roads University Sunday afternoon

Animal reported on western side of campus near Langford Fire Department

Saanich-based St. Luke’s Players community theatre company has been making the most of their opportunities to keep busy during the pandemic, including staging a Christmastime panto of Alice in Wonderland on Zoom. (Courtesy St. Luke’s Players)
Saanich’s St. Luke’s Players: Bringing the stage to the people

Community theatre company holding online auditions Jan. 23-24 for March production

Frank Bourree was awarded the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s first Governors’ Award of Distinction for his leadership in the business community. (Courtesy of Frank Bourree)
Frank Bourree receives award of distinction from Victoria chamber

Award recognizes positive role model in business community

The Habitat for Humanity Meaning of Home contest is open to students in Grades 5 to 6. (Screenshot/Habitat for Humanity video)
Habitat for Humanity launches national writing contest

Entries accepted from students in Grades 4 to 6 until Feb. 19

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

Most Read