RIO DEL MAR — An environmentally conscious couple with a passion for knot-tying have launched an online funding campaign for their home-based reusable mug business.
“Basically I drink a lot of coffee and I’ve always been into tying knots,” said Daniel Fontius, who is rarely seen without one of his colorful Khordz mugs in hand.
Fontius dates the first Khordz mug back to a book of knots his wife, Krista Harris, gave to him last year. He used an old honey jar and the recycled cord from a broken venetian blind, winding the rope tightly around the thick glass and tying a series of flat Cobra knots along the side as a looping handle. The result was a reusable, sturdy to-go mug that quickly drew attention.
The mug has evolved to “Khordz survival drinkware” and is now made with 16-ounce canning jars with a choice of screw-top lids. It is wrapped in a 25-foot strand of paracord with a 500-pound-load rating that comes in multiple colors. The wrapping helps keep drinks insulated and omits a leftover taste that can linger in metal or plastic containers. They are dishwasher and microwave save. Tri-County Trophy in Watsonville is also on board adding customized etching.
“This is about doing something of our own and doing something inventive and unique,” Harris said, noting that materials are predominantly made in the U.S. although the source of glass is hard to track.
The couple still has day jobs. Fontius works for a family owned international large tent rental company and as a local videographer; Harris, for an event planning company. They spend evenings together watching movies and tying knots on their sofa.
“Everybody got stuffed mugs for Christmas,” Harris said.
The Khordz mug is sold in a few local shops such as the Lumen Gallery in Capitola, the Driftwood in Moss Landing and the SLOWCOAST in Davenport. They hope to grow and envision an international company. The first step is an online fundraising campaign to help buy materials and build brand awareness. They set a goal of $5,000 and have raised about half of that so far. The campaign, which allows donors to order individual mugs or sets, is scheduled to end Feb. 7.
So far, the response has been positive, they said.
“It’s something new people haven’t seen before and we’re still getting started, but people are excited,” Fontius said.
For Fontius, 28, part of the joy is still about making knots.
“Yea, I love it,” he said. “I used to carry around a piece of string and tie knots on the bus on the way to school.”
They are also hoping to encourage others to reuse rather than add to landfills. A portion of the profits is donated to Surfrider Foundation through the 1 percent for the Planet campaign.
“The biggest thing about this community is everybody’s really excited and positive about new projects,” Harris said. “Without the positive support that everybody’s given us for the community, we probably wouldn’t have gone any further.”
Follow Sentinel correspondent Jennifer Pittman at Twitter.com/jenniferpittman
At A glance
Khordz Handmade Mugs
HEADQUARTERS: Private residence in Rio del Mar
BACKGROUND: Founded in fall 2012
LEADERSHIP TEAM: Daniel Fontius and Krista Harris
CONTACT: 530-351-4091; http://khordz.bigcartel.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
RETAIL PRICE: Mugs sell for $24 or $80 for a set of four; lids sell for $1-$8