cnbc.com – When Laura Bartlett left her friend’s house one night in 2012, carrying an unfinished bottle of wine covered in plastic wrap and secured by a rubber band, she was less concerned with how pretty the hack looked than she was with spilling her wine.
After she got home, her then 20-year-old son, Mitch Strahan, joked that her makeshift wine stopper looked like a condom.
“We just kind of laughed about it,” Bartlett, 51, tells CNBC Make It.
But the joke stuck.
“It was just a funny idea until one day, several months later, he was like, ‘I think I’m going to do this. I think I’m going to make a wine condom,'” Bartlett recalls.
What started as a successful Kickstarter campaign to create the wine stoppers with a sense of humor — which raised nearly $10,000 in 2014 — is now a legitimate business. Bartlett and Strahan’s Wine Condoms have now surpassed $1 million in total sales, they are featured in Paper Source stores around the country and the product is currently being considered by a big box convenience store.
But at the start, Bartlett, who was working in marketing for a bank, and Strahan, who was waiting tables, didn’t know where to begin. They just knew they wanted to make condoms for wine bottles.
“We couldn’t get them made at a condom factory because true condom packaging was [done] on an assembly line,” which wouldn’t allow for customization, Strahan says. Instead, they worked with an overseas glove manufacturer to find the proper molds for a product that would fit a wine bottle and sourced packaging from a company that made pill sample packets to mimic the appearance of a traditional condom wrapper.
I was ready to get these jokes off but as someone who enjoys wine this is brilliant. Everyone knows how it feels when you don’t have a top to put back on top of the unfinished bottle or don’t have a stopper readily available…you just gotta put foil on top and call it a day. I’m actually jealous and upset that I didn’t think of it first.