Pair behind Willy and Bear start-up, left devastated as Frank Green, Bunnings ... trends now
Two best friends who came up with a genius idea to sell car cup holder adapters for drink bottles now fear they may be driven out of business - after popular bottle and homewares manufacturer Frank Green started advertising a similar product.
Kelsey Gorman, 25, and Rylie Greenhalgh, 23, are the Brisbane duo behind Willy and Bear. The business sells special accessories that fit into standard built-in car cup holders and expand to let larger bottles - which wouldn't otherwise fit - sit snugly inside.
Ms Gorman and Ms Greenhalgh, who both work full time in medical administration, came up with the idea after noticing how inconvenient it was trying to hold onto their drink bottles while driving or sitting in the passenger seat of a car.
With the recent popularity of drink bottles sold by the likes of Frank Green, Yeti and Hydro Flask, Ms Gorman and Ms Greenhalgh saw sales skyrocket.
But customers have since noticed a striking similarity with Frank Green's latest accessory, with Bunnings Warehouse also jumping on the cup holder trend.
Kelsey Gorman, 25, and Rylie Greenhalgh, 23, are the Brisbane duo behind Willy and Bear which sells cup holder expanders for large drink bottles
'We just don't know where our brand is heading now and how long it's going to last,' Ms Greenhalgh told Daily Mail Australia.
Ms Gorman said when she saw a similar product to theirs being advertised by another company, she immediately called Ms Greenhalgh in tears.
'I just thought this is us done,' she said.
Willy and Bear officially launched in September last year, with the business priding itself on using 100 per cent Australian-made and recyclable materials.
Ms Gorman and Ms Greenhalgh live together and said their idea was sparked out of a conversation they had one night in their living room around Christmas time in 2021.
'We both got water bottles for Christmas and in the following months, as everyone does, we took them everywhere,' Ms Gorman said.
The expanders fit into a standard car cup holder and allow larger bottles that wouldn't otherwise fit to sit tightly inside
'We quickly realised how annoying it was as a passenger to hang onto them, and if you're driving, the bottles just smash around on the floor.'
After doing some research on the Australian market and not finding anything similar, the pair decided to put their life savings into launching the business.
At the beginning, they put $30,000 into setting up the company - which they had been saving to buy a home together.
'It was very risky, we had so many people in our ears telling us not to do it,' Ms Greenhalgh said.
With the help of viral TikTok videos - with some of their clips racking up half a million views - the first order of 700 Willy and Bear cup holders sold out within a