867
9 min 44 sec

Enjoy an Ice Cold Beverage in a Mug Made from Ice

A visit to the outdoor sauna in the midst of a Minnesota winter inspires a mug made from ice that has sold over 4,000 units.
Crowdfunding Manufacturing Niche Ideas Product

Subscribe Now For A Free Five Step Tutorial

What It's About

Today's episode will have you saying "nICE ice, baby!"

Business Model
Manufacturing
Skills Required
Product Development & Marketing
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

When it came to pricing, Glenn opted to set his prices using a 3x-4x pricing model because, as Glenn put it, “If a product costs $10 to produce, many people will turn around and sell it for $20. And someone will try to convince themselves that that 50% is net, but they’re not taking into account that part of that $10 of ‘profit’ needs to be applied to a variety of line items that contribute to the brand. It’s about striking the right balance because if you are selling something for $40 that costs you $10 to create, customers might not take you seriously. The value isn’t there unless you’ve really got something unique!”

Fun Fact

Glenn has a lot of interesting ideas floating around, like Troxers, the swim trunk/boxer combo that he’s developed for the spontaneous swimmer in you! Just like nICE Mug, Glenn has been developing this project for the last 6-8 years, and it’s finally coming to Kickstarter in June.

The idea behind this one came from a mobile sauna project that he’s been working on. He and some collaborators build these mobile saunas and take them around to different events, and people are discouraged because they didn’t think to bring a swimsuit. They perform like trunks but feel like boxers—sounds like a real winner in our book!

Notes from Chris

Episode 867
Many of the most influential inventions came about accidentally—The Post-It Note, Super Glue, and even the chocolate chip cookie! Now you can add another one to that accidental invention hall-of-fame: the nICE mug.

One especially chilly Minnesota winter night, Glenn Auerbach was trudging through the snow to his backyard sauna when he realized that one of the water containers he used to dump cold water over his head had been left outside, full of water from a sauna a couple of days prior. For all intents and purposes, it looked frozen solid.

Sitting on his sauna bench, Glenn dumped out the chunk of ice and noticed that the center was miraculously unfrozen. He poured out the liquid center and what remained was a perfectly formed drinking vessel. Never one to miss an opportunity for a cold beer in a hot sauna, he and a friend poured a frothy beer into the mug made out of ice and took turns sipping. And after they finished that first beer, they naturally started on another.

A ways into that second beer, Glenn noticed that while the mug melted down a bit, it held its shape well and never leaked. Best of all—that beer tasted fantastic!

After that night, Glenn started leaving more water containers outside to freeze hoping to replicate that first mug, but he realized that he couldn’t quite catch the perfect freezing point. Either the mug was too thin, or it came out frozen solid like a hockey puck.

So he decided to ramp up his experiments. Following a long period of trial and error reusing potato salad containers from the grocery store (side note: his family started eating a lot of potato salad at this point in time) combined with hockey tape to create rudimentary molds, he finally found the perfect combination. It consisted of two deli containers, one inside the other that would create the vessel—and a lid that kept everything in place. The result was nICE Mug!

Since starting this in 2013, has sold over 4,000 units and brings in anywhere from $2,000-5,000/month in sales these days.

He continues to store, pack, and ship everything right out of his house. Because he’s chosen to bootstrap everything, there’s still a lot of hands-on work being done, and one day, these profit margins will be closer to 50% when they start handing off fulfillment and shipping to other companies as they reach their limits on orders they can ship out from their home.

What’s next for nICE Mug? Moving forward, Glenn is focused on finding a product champion who will take on the brand. He recently spent $100 on dry ice and insulated packaging to ship a batch of ready-made nICE Mugs to the NHL. At some point, he can see sports fans cheering on their favorite hockey team with a nICE Mug full of frothy beer. Outside of the sauna, Glenn thinks there could be no better application! And the NHL agrees—all parties are hopeful for a licensing agreement, but for the time being, you could say that the idea is still on ice.

 
 
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • nICE Mug: Snag a kit of your own over on Glenn's website so that you can enjoy ice cold beer this summer!
  • Troxers: If you're into the idea of spontaneous swimming, make sure you're prepared—learn more about the swim trunk boxer combo and keep your eyes peeled for the Kickstarter campaign
  • Saunatimes: Learn more about Glenn's main passion, traditional sauna over on his other website
  • WordPress: Glenn used WordPress to set up all three of his websites, and here you can learn how to install your own WordPress site in 5 minutes

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

cg-sig-newsletter


Download 2019 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN

Download 2018 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

Download 2017 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

Resources

CREATE YOUR ONLINE STORE

Create your online store with Shopify using an exclusive discount for Side Hustle School listeners. For a limited time, get a free 21-day trial and a 10% discount for a whole year.

Many Side Hustle School listeners are building sites using Shopify's easy-to-learn platform. Try it free today!

Learn More

GET YOUR FIRST 1,000 EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS

Social media is nice, but building an email list is still the single best way to get customers and clients for your hustle. It's not hard to get started—sign up for a 30-day trial and join the list-building challenge! You’ll be up and running in no time.


Learn More

Quote of the Day
"As Rick Rubin says, ‘the best art divides the audience.’ Don’t be afraid to create something that evokes strong reactions from people! nICE Mug isn’t going to be for everyone, but I’m not making it for everyone.​"
—Glenn Auerbach #SideHustleSchool

Sponsors & Gratitude

Don't Do Business Without It

Side Hustle School is brought to you by American Express.

No matter what you do in business, from working nine-to-five to working five-to-nine, it’s easier when you don’t go it alone. Get the powerful backing of American Express—don't do business without it! 💳


Visit American Express

Like the Show? Leave a Rating!

Side Hustle School is for you! If you’re enjoying it, please take a quick moment to leave a rating or write a quick review. It's really easy and it makes a difference! ✅

It also makes a huge difference when you tell your friends about the show. Remember, it's 100% free and listener-supported.


Here's How

Keep in Touch

There’s a new story every single day on Side Hustle School. Episodes are produced to be short and to the point—I know you’re busy. Be sure you subscribe to get instant notification of the day’s broadcast!





To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau