Sydney-based entrepreneur Myles Sgammotta saw a gap in the Aussie market: a red cup-shaped hole we longed to fill after watching way too many American movies featuring full-blown frat parties, keg stands and crunk times (why did we want to drink out of those bad boys so much?).
Fast forward 8 years and his multi-million dollar business REDDS Cups is the provider of the highest-selling plastic party cup nation-wide, with stockists like Woolies, Dan Murphy’s, BWS and Big W.
Wanna get inside the brain of a man who turned plastic into paper? Of course you do. Read on for Myles’ pro-tips on everything from inspiration to work ethic.
RED CUPS? HOW’D YOU KNOW THE NATION WOULD FROTH ON THEM?
I, along with almost every Australian kid born from the early 80’s onwards grew up utterly consumed in American social culture. From TV and movies we watched, to the NBA players and rappers we idolised, it was all American pop culture. So when it came to the red cup phenomenon, everyone in Australia under the age of 30 (at the time) knew exactly what they were, and what they stood for (that cool party they saw on TV, that they wish Seth and Ryan invited them to).
CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH YOUR RED CUP REINVENTION THINKING?
There was already complete product awareness, I just needed to create brand awareness, and convince the 50 year old (supermarket) buyers and bottle shop owners that yes people would buy a plastic cup just because it was red. I wanted to take this product that had been desired in Australia for so many years, and give it a different feel.
CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH YOUR ADOPTION OF AN ALREADY MADE PRODUCT?
I wanted to take a product that had been desired in Australia for so man years, and give it a bit of a different feel. I think the college party/Project X thing works great in the States, but I was more concerned with evolving the identity of the product into one that fit into Australia’s party scene, which is much more involved around music, arts and culture.
When redesigning the cup originally, we actually shrunk the American red and blue cup down slightly to a schooner size, so that they could be used at bars in Australia, and then released our Minis, a 285ml cup and Micros shot cup. We just recently released our Cristál (clear) wine cups, all of which are our original and exclusive designs. We also have our Beer Bong Party Pack which is a fave among customers.
HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO MAKE SURE THESE CUPS WERE 100% RECYCLABLE / DISPOSABLE?
I treated the issue of sustainability and the safety of the production of the cups as a paramount concern. It was an essential part of the sourcing process that the materials we used were able to be easily and entirely recycled, and were BPA free. We also made sure REDDS Cups are stronger than normal cups, using high-quality materials so people are able to hang on to their cups throughout the party, so they don’t have to go through a new one every drink.
YOU’RE OBVIOUSLY KILLING IT IN YOUR INDUSTRY, BUT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE KILLING IT?
There’s so much that I’m still learning and experiencing that’s teaching me more about business and marketing than I could ever imagine. Thankfully I have overcome some of the bigger, steeper, more excruciating learning curves around production and importing.
The highlights still have to be walking into a house party, or festival, or a supermarket somewhere in the middle of nowhere and seeing REDDS being used or sold. One of those warm and fuzzy moments that makes it feel worth it.
The lowlight that I haven’t managed to repress as yet was sending 120 pallets worth of cups to a recycling plant because the quality was so bad. And that was after myself and my amazing father, went through over 11,000 boxes over a 3 week period sorting the good from the bad. I still don’t think either of us has ever fully recovered from that.
HOW HAS YOUR APPROACH TO YOUR WORK CHANGED OVER TIME?
I’ve definitely transitioned my approach to work from one of high stress and high energy into a calm and strategic approach.
RIGHTY OR LEFTY SIDE OF THE BRAIN?
I’m a strong mix of both, I’m too left sided to be an artist, but too right sided to be in the corporate machine. That’s why REDDS has been great for me, it’s allowed me to create and design and innovate, as well as being satisfied by looking at a screen full of numbers and formulas.
HOW DO YOU KEEP CHILL AF OUTSIDE OF WORK?
Meditation for me is a key part to moderating stress and dealing with the pressures that come with business, as well as gaining perspective. Red wine helps with that too.
WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNEL ARE YOU RELIGIOUSLY ON AND WHY?
Facebook is my social media of choice, I’ve managed to curate it over the years to get almost entirely just brands, news sites and arts and music pages that I want to be updated on. People hate on Facebook because all they see is friend’s babies or the new Camry their ‘friend’ from year 6 just bought, but it really is an amazing way to curate the Internet.
WHAT IS YOUR GO TO SONG/FOOD/BEVERAGE FOR PRODUCTIVITY PICK ME-UP?
An espresso and about 15 high sugar content biscuits.
WHAT WOULD YOUR LAST MEAL BE?
A tub of Nutella and a glass of milk.
WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE SOMEONE IN THE INDUSTRY HAS GIVEN YOU THAT YOU’LL NEVER FORGET?
It’s all about relationships and all the best deals get done outside of the office.