Twice named a Red Dot Design Award recipient and one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing private companies in America, Corkcicle has also landed on “Oprah’s Favorite Things” list three times since 2011. The popular Orlando-based company recently debuted their latest product, stylish cooler bags that make packing your own lunches look cool, so we thought now would be a good time to interview Corkcicle founder Benjamin Hewitt to get to know him and his company a little bit better as they continue to expand and dominate the market of sustainable products.
Q & A with Corkcicle founder Benjamin Hewitt
1. How did Corkcicle start?
Corkcicle is a global lifestyle brand that makes cool things. Headquartered in Orlando, FL, Corkcicle creates award-winning hydration and barware products, and has reimagined drinkware, cooler bags and lunchboxes as functional fashion accessories. Corkcicle’s fashion-forward innovation is inspired by modern design and rooted in social responsibility. What started in 2011 as an endeavor to chill wine to the perfect drinking temp quickly evolved into a pursuit to make every sip an experience. Corkcicle’s growing product line is delightfully deliberate in its commitment to complement personal style while simultaneously reducing personal impact on the planet.
2. Corkcicle was founded locally in Central Florida – how has that made a difference for you all as a company?
Fortune 500 companies and start-ups alike have found success in Orlando. Not only have we been able to draw top talent to build our growing team right from our backyard, but we’ve been honored to partner with some of the coolest local organizations (Rifle Paper Co., University of Central Florida, Lineage, Orlando Magic, Creative City Project – just to name a few) for successful collaborations. In addition to providing custom logo products to more than 100 local Orlando businesses, Corkcicle has worked collaboratively with some of the most premium brands in the world. Collaborations and customized products include work with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yves Saint Laurent, Free People, Travis Mathew, Pappy, Stance, TED Conferences, Vineyard Vines, Rifle Paper Co. and many more.
3. What makes Central Florida special?
Innovation and design are the principles that guide us and where we spin our wheels, so it makes sense to call Central Florida- a creative community bustling with innovation and talent- our home. Having a front row seat to witness and celebrate the successes of our fellow citizens and contribute to the thriving social and economic landscape is why we are proud to stay.
Corkcicle has had the opportunity to partner with more than 200 local non-profits and community organizations in the Central Florida area, including its recent sponsorship of Immerse Orlando and the Creative City Project, an annual arts event in Downtown Orlando featuring Cirque du Soleil, Orlando Ballet, the Central Florida Community Arts Orchestra and more than 2000 other artists. Corkcicle’s partnership debuted “Worlds of Corkcicle”, an immersive photo experience featuring 3D, immersive worlds that integrated light, sets, projection and effects. It’s our community — and the people in it — that make Central Florida so special.
4. Originally the company started with wine tumblers and drinkware, what inspired the jump to lunchboxes?
Every successful company wants to stay relevant. We’re always thinking about new products that could disrupt the industry or ways we can improve upon existing products in the marketplace. Corkcicle approached the market for designing a cooler bag by identifying two huge gaps that existed in the current marketplace. First, coolers had not transcended into the world of fashion, apparent by the lack of stylish, attractive cooler bags available. Secondly, we noticed an opportunity in the market for soft coolers that appeal to women’s trendsetting tastes, while performing to their impeccable standards.
Existing products were built with technicality in mind but not to the sensibility of a stylish and savvy female consumer. This consumer has numerous practical and joyful reasons for daily use — leisure trips to the beach or pool, lunch for the office, sports and family activities, etc. With those gaps in mind and aesthetics as a primary goal, the resulting design has burst off the drawing board and into the market by elevating the current concepts of both design and functionality, and includes four color-ways as part of a larger collection of cooler bags. We named each bag after lakes in Central Florida. Waterproof ultrasonic welding provides high-performance insulation on the inside and a beautiful (and durable) handbag on the outside. Its accelerated aesthetic brings the cooler bag market to play in a way fashion has never seen before, and easily paved the way for our lunchboxes to do the same.
5. Looking back at all the milestones that made Corkcicle where it is today, what were some important moments that particularly stand out along the way?
We’re grateful for everything Corkcicle has accomplished to date. Twice named a Red Dot Design Award recipient and one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing private companies in America, Corkcicle has also landed on “Oprah’s Favorite Things” list three times since 2011. In 2018, we announced the company would donate 5% of all sales on corkcicle.com to charity: water to provide clean drinking water for those in need. With so many organizations doing good in our world, it was hard to choose just one. However, the day we selected charity: water as our flagship charitable partner was a really special milestone for the company.
6. What is next for Corkcicle?
We’re taking over the world – one reusable cup at a time. In all seriousness, we’re on a mission to make our world a better place and have pledged to eliminate single-use plastic from all Corkcicle packaging by the end of 2020. We can’t give away ALL of our secrets, but it’s safe to assume more cool things will be coming from Corkcicle. Stay tuned!
Special promotions exclusively on corkcicle.com right now:
– Get 10% off your first order when you sign up for their mailing list.
– Buy any drinkware, get FREE straws when you sign up for texts.
– Spend $100 and get 1 FREE flute.* Code: FREEFLUTE100
– Spend $100 and get 1 FREE flute.* Code: FREEFLUTE200
*Must add flutes to your cart.