Amazing KC Kids: Meet Kyler, Comfy Cup Inventor

Kyler Russell was an 8-year-old boy who couldn’t stand a required piece of his baseball uniform – the athletic cup. He fidgeted with it while in the batter’s box, on the field and in the dugout. His mom, Brandi, bought all different kinds to try but nothing allowed him to focus on the game.

So instead of giving up, Brandi and her husband challenged Kyler to come up with his own solution.

“Kyler has always been creative and inventive. He is not a natural entrepreneur. Kyler was never the kid setting up a lemonade stand or selling pet rocks door-to-door. Kyler has always loved creating things.  I’ll never forget the time he emerged from the playroom when he was about nine years old and he said, ‘Look, Mom, I built a LEGO gun.’  What surprised me is that the gun actually shot little 1×1 LEGOs out of it!  He said he created it “from his mind,” no instructions,” Brandi explains.

Kyler used that creative mind and the support of his parents to  invent the Comfy Cup™— a more comfortable, lightweight, flexible athletic cup specifically contoured to fit the bodies of young boys.

Kyler explains, “I told my mom that I had an idea for a more comfortable cup…we went to the store and bought some foam and fabric, my mom got out her sewing machine and we worked together to create the idea I had in my mind.” 

What started out as a craft project in August 2014 has now evolved into the field-tested, kid-approved Comfy Cup™ available for purchase at Scheels sporting goods store, on Amazon, and on The Grommet, a popular retail website with 2.5 million subscribers around the globe –exposure that could turn Kyler’s little-known product into the next must-have item for little leaguers around the world.

“Kyler and I worked together to create the first Comfy Cup™ prototype in 2015 at my sewing machine in our family dining room.  Kyler wore it and tested it and we tweaked it over the course of several months. Once Kyler’s baseball teammates caught wind of his invention, his friends started asking if I could make one for them, too.  Before long, kids I didn’t know were approaching me on the bleachers asking if they could get one of Kyler’s comfy cups. After about six months, we realized that the need for a comfortable athletic cup extended beyond our family and lots of kids were searching for a solution to their uncomfortable athletic cups. ”

We met with a variety of companies that promised to “help develop a working prototype” that we could give to a manufacturer to mass produce the Comfy Cup. This turned out to be costly and didn’t give us what we needed.  Luckily we discovered that we have a family friend who was able to connect us with a manufacturer and walked us through the steps to bring his invention to market. 

 

 

Within a year from the beginning of his invention, he’d sold 1,000 products on Amazon. He’s since added Scheels and TheGrommet.com. This summer, the Comfy Cup reached more than 6,000 sales!

Kyler had lots of support from the Kansas City business community but named the 1 Million Cups audience as the most valuable in opening up opportunities and connections.

“Kyler is the face of Comfy Cup. In the beginning, we would do presentations and interviews together, but now, Kyler is able to stand up in front of an audience and give a PowerPoint presentation about Comfy Cup to a room of business people all on his own,” Brandi says.

So what’s next for Kyler?

He’s busy being a 7th grade boy,” Brandi says. “He is working towards achieving his Eagle Scout Rank and practicing his golf game when he isn’t studying or playing FortNite.”

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Commerce Bank and Kansas City Moms Blog are proud to offer the Amazing Kid series! Featured Kansas City kids will receive an investment to help with their endeavors. Do you know an amazing kid who deserve recognition for their invention, entrepreneurship, volunteerism or advocacy work? Let us know at info {at} kansascitymomsblog.com

Sarah
Sarah is mama to 9-year-old, Henry, 6-year-old Clark and 4-year-old Lucy. After growing up in Manhattan, Kansas (Go Cats!), she moved to Minnesota where she met her husband, Shea. Realizing how much she hated snow in May, she convinced him to move to Kansas City in 2010. Together they have lived in Midtown, Waldo, the Plaza before migrating to Johnson County. Sarah has her master’s in urban administration and is currently in the Kansas City Centurions program. In between the crazy, she likes to drink coffee, run, travel (but never to the same place twice), and experience all things Kansas City!