The pair are behind startup Willy and Bear, left devastated with Frank Green selling a similar product

Two best friends who came up with the ingenious idea of ​​selling car cup holder adapters for beverage bottles are now afraid of being fired – after Frank Green, a popular bottle and housewares manufacturer, began advertising a similar product.

Kelsey Gorman, 25, and Riley Greenhalgh, 23, are the Brisbane duo behind Willy & Bear. The company sells specialty accessories that fit in standard compact car cup holders and expand to allow larger bottles—that otherwise wouldn’t fit—to sit comfortably inside.

Ms. Gorman and Ms. Greenhalgh, who work full-time in the medical department, came up with the idea after noticing how annoying it can be trying to grab drink bottles while driving or sitting in the passenger seat of a car.

With the recent popularity of beverage bottles sold by the likes of Frank Green Whitty and Hydro Flask, Mrs. Gorman and Mrs. Greenhalgh have seen sales skyrocket.

But customers have since noticed a striking similarity to Frank Green’s latest accessory, as Bunnings Warehouse has also jumped on the cup holder trend.

Kelsey Gorman, 25, and Rylie Greenhalgh, 23, are the Brisbane duo behind Willy and Bear who sell cup holder extenders for larger beverage bottles

Kelsey Gorman, 25, and Rylie Greenhalgh, 23, are the Brisbane duo behind Willy and Bear who sell cup holder extenders for larger beverage bottles

“We don’t know where our brand is going now and how long it will last,” Greenhalgh told Daily Mail Australia.

Gorman said that when she saw a product similar to hers being advertised by another company, she immediately called a tearful Ms. Greenhalgh.

“I just thought this is what we did,” she said.

Willy and Bear was officially launched in September last year, and the company prides itself on using 100 percent Australian-made, recyclable materials.

Ms. Gorman and Ms. Greenhalgh live together and said their idea sprang from a conversation they had one night in the living room around Christmas time in 2021.

“We got water bottles for Christmas, and in the following months, as everyone does, we took them everywhere,” Gorman said.

The extenders fit into a standard car cup holder and allow larger bottles that cannot fit tightly inside

The extenders fit into a standard car cup holder and allow larger bottles that cannot fit tightly inside

“We quickly realized how annoying it was for passengers to hold on to, and if you were driving, bottles smashed to the floor.”

After doing some research on the Australian market and not finding anything similar, the couple decided to put their savings into a startup.

At first, they invested $30,000 in setting up the company—which they were saving to buy a house together.

“It was so risky, we had a lot of people on our ears telling us not to do it,” Greenhalgh said.

Aided by viral TikTok videos — some of which have garnered half a million views — the first order of 700 Willy and Bear cup holders sold out in a matter of weeks.

Ms. Greenhalgh (pictured) and Gorman put all their savings to get the business done

Ms. Greenhalgh (pictured) and Gorman put all their savings to get the business done

Willy and Bear's first order of 700 cup holder extenders sold out within weeks

Willy and Bear’s first order of 700 cup holder extenders sold out within weeks

“We did better than we thought, and it was stressful because we still work full time,” Gorman said.

“Since September, we’ve basically been up until 2am every day and then have to start our regular jobs again at 7am.”

Willy & Bear The cup holders retail for $30 and come in a bunch of different colors.

However, Frank Green, known for their reusable bottles, coffee mugs and housewares, announced the unveiling of a line of cup holder extenders in mid-February this year.

On TikTok on February 23, they showed off the new accessory that sells for $19.95, which Frank Green said was “years in the making.”

But the video was quickly inundated with comments from many who pointed out their product’s resemblance to Willy and Bear.

Gotta love the way they say it’s been years in the making and yet Willy and Bear made their lives go faster. Use a small company, one wrote.

Another said, “Sorry Frankie, I’m a little late, Willie and Bear, you’ve got me covered already.”

The adapters can accommodate bottles up to 1.25 liters from a variety of different brands

The adapters can accommodate bottles up to 1.25 liters from a variety of different brands

Customers across Australia are buying $11 worth of PVC tubes (pictured) from Bunnings Warehouse to store Frank Green bottles in car cup holders

The trend emerged in late December when a TikTokker user posted a life hack

Customers across Australia are buying $11 worth of PVC tubing from Bunnings Warehouse (left) to store drink bottles in car cup holders. The trend emerged in late December when a TikTokker user posted her “genius” life hack in a video (right)

Frank Green cup holder extenders fit specifically on 1 liter bottles. Willy and Bear fits a variety of bottles up to 1.25 ounces.

Bunnings Warehouse has joined in and is now announcing a tube that doubles as a bottle holder after one shopper’s clever idea.

In late December, a shopper bought a tapered piece of pipe to use inside her car to store her own 1-liter Frank Green drink bottle and shared it on TikTok.

Bunnings customers have since noticed the hardware store advertising the tube with the new descriptor “cup holder” for $11.

The hardware giant even shared a video of a person using the tube to hold the bottle on its TikTok account.

Willy and Bear hope their clients stick with them

Willy and Bear hope their clients stick with them

A Bunnings spokesperson said that tapered PVC level reflections have been on offer in the store for decades.

“It is intended for ducting and ventilation use, but we know that customers often come up with creative projects and hacks using products from our stores, with the drink bottle holder being one example,” they said.

Ms. Gorman and Ms. Greenhalgh said they have been overwhelmed by the support they have received from their clients.

“The thing to keep in mind is that people love supporting small businesses,” Gorman said.

Willy and Bear supplies to ten different stores across Australia and New Zealand.

“Although there are companies with similar products, our companies are global,” Gorman added.

“But it’s weird for a company to say it took years to come up with something, when we’re just two girls who know nothing about the industry and did it in a matter of months.”

Frank Green has been contacted for comment.

Frank Green, known for their reusable bottles, coffee mugs, and housewares, will unveil a line of cup holder extenders in mid-February.

Frank Green, known for their reusable bottles, coffee mugs, and housewares, will unveil a line of cup holder extenders in mid-February.

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