Go behind the scenes with some of our favorite makers! We sat down with these entrepreneurs for a deep dive on their businesses, what makes them tick and what they’ve got in store for the future! Join us as we Meet the Maker!
This time, we sat down with Danielle Del Sordo and Brandegee Pierce of Pirani Life! Let’s dive in.
Q: Give us your back story! What made you want to start your business?
A: Most of our sports take place in the ocean, and we used to be lucky enough to live one block from it. As native South Florida water babies living an active outdoor lifestyle, we grew tired of seeing litter scattered across our beautiful beaches. One of the biggest offenders was always that iconic red party cup. This fueled Brandegee to design the first vacuum insulated version of it. After countless 3D-printed prototypes created in our home studio (AKA the living room), he was determined to create the last party cup you will ever need and help put a stop to the billions of single-use plastic cups that are tossed every year. In 2018 We had a successful Kickstarter campaign which has brought us to where we’re at today!
Here’s a video of our story.
Q: Did you come in with experience or did you learn as you went?
A: We both have design backgrounds, and although Danielle has a hybrid Master’s degree in entrepreneurship, we definitely are learning along the way and it’s quite the journey!
Q: What makes Pirani Life unique compared to other companies?
A: We are true environmentalists. We practice what we preach, spend our free-time volunteering with non-profit organizations that protect our planet, and will always be activists for a sustainable future. Our products are designed to encourage people to live more sustainably. Before the pandemic, our cup served as a vehicle of inspiration. We encourage our customers to BYOC (bring your own cup) and it really helped eliminate their single-use consumption!
Here’s a quick video clip of the message behind a Pirani tumbler.
We designed this upgraded party cup to be the highest quality out there with a lifetime warranty so that it’s the last cup you will ever need! It’s the first vacuum insulated “red Solo cup” on the market. The walls are much thinner than regular insulated tumblers, and the rolled lip allows the smoothest drinking from any beverage. So although there are many other insulated tumblers on the market, ours truly does have some tricks up its sleeve that sets it apart. Not to toot our own horn, but we’ve had a lot of customers tell us that it’s the only cup they use after trying it.
Here’s a video on our features.
Q: What kinds of challenges have you had to overcome as a small business owner and entrepreneur?
A: Being designers who can make things look pretty, it’s been a learning curve on the business side of things. Our biggest challenges have been learning the ins and outs of marketing, advertising, retail, web development, sales, supply-chain, trade shows, etc! And having to wear all the hats while progressing the company and maintaining a healthy relationship is all a part of those challenges. We continue to make mistakes weekly. Some are big and some are small, but they only help us grow in the long run!
Q: How have you coped with COVID? How have you had to pivot?
A: Oh COVID. (sigh). We’ve started offering drop-shipping to retail stores and some non-profits that we already work with and were struggling due to COVID. We launched our #ContributeSustainably program which donates 100% proceeds to the non-profit of choice to help those that could not order for events, etc.
We also focused on how we could improve our business so that we are ready for the world on the other side of this madness! Oh, and we joined virtual trade-shows like Market for Makers who are genius enough to create a platform for us all who are struggling out there!
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: Designing, Emails, Shipping, Laser Engraving, Meetings, Social Media, and cuddling with our Pirani pup Mowgli in between!
Q: Is this your full time job?
A: Unfortunately due to COVID, Brandegee was laid off from his job and Danielle’s freelance from the past two years ended, so it encouraged us to hustle even more for Pirani Life! But pre-pandemic, there was definitely some burning the candle at both ends. We’ve both always been hard workers who love a challenge, so we worked through it and took all the ocean breaks possible when we could! But on the flip-side, the pandemic also allowed us to spread our wings and expand to Asheville, NC! So now we find our balance in the mountains! Nature is healing.
Q: What are your goals for the future of Pirani Life?
A: Costa Rica? Lost on the Appalachian trail?!
All jokes aside, we want to be a company that not only encourages people to live more sustainably through our mission, but are looking to have a more tangible way to track the positive impact that Pirani Life has made for our environment. We already donate to ocean conservation organizations and are part of 1% for the Planet, but we are hoping as Pirani grows our donations can increase ten-fold! We are working on a big top secret idea we hope to roll out next year!
Q: What do you like most about what you do? What keeps you going?
A: Feeling like we’re making a difference. Even though sometimes we’d like to throw in the towel, we must quickly remind ourselves that we are building a path for our future and a better future for the planet, and that does not always mean it’s going to be an easy journey.
Q: What are you looking forward to most, post-COVID?
A: We look forward to events again! Especially with live music! Our wedding, trade shows, and our biggest passion in life – travel.
Q: We’re suckers for fun facts! Tell us more about you; share some deep dark secrets!
A: Our relationship has always been based on adventure. After meeting in 2013, we decided to quit our corporate careers and travel the world for 16 months. That’s when we realized we wanted to start a company together. Being big-time foodies and cooking lots while on the road, we thought for sure we’d start a food truck when we returned, but that never happened! We are almost married, have a Puerto Rican rescue pup named Mowgli who we are OBSESSED with and definitely fall in the night owl category currently working at 9pm on a Wednesday night.
CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF PIRANI LIFE?! US EITHER. VISIT THEIR SITE AND SHOP THEIR FULL LINE OF PRODUCTS, OR GIVE THEM A FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM OR FACEBOOK!
Be sure you check out our virtual market and see if they’re participating; our virtual market vendors often offer up exclusive discounts to our virtual market attendees. Shop small and save! Drop us a comment if you’ve shopped this maker and tag us in your photos when you’re using their goods! Put your money where your heart is and join us as we continue to support small. We believe this artisan is the next big thing, and we’re happy you met them here first!