Save the Ocean Straws
What started as an observation has turned into a Shark-Tank worthy business for two Auburn students.
We sat down with Kressie Kornis, co-founder of “S.O. Straws,” a paper straw company hoping to change the game of compostable straws.
Seniors Kressie Kornis and Porter Kennedy have been friends since freshman year, but recently decided to go into business together.
While interning in Washington D.C. last summer, Kennedy noticed paper straws in almost every restaurant he went to, but none worked well. Kennedy saw this as a business opportunity and turned to Kornis for help. “He knew I was passionate about the environment and had the business experience to get something rolling,” said Kornis.
Kornis and Kennedy came up with the idea for “S.O. Straws,” or “Save the Ocean Straws,” in the summer of 2018, and their website officially launched in February of 2019.
Paper straws are becoming increasingly common at restaurants, coffee shops, and other establishments, but many people have complained of how poorly made the straws are and how quickly they fall apart. The two chose a superior-designed paper straw that has more layers of paper, allowing them to last longer and disintegrate slower in liquids.
The duo has entered into entrepreneurial competitions across the country and even in Florence, Italy, in hopes of gaining exposure, connections, and funding. “We want to keep competing so we can gain funding and lower the overall price of the straws,” said Kornis.
A box of 50 “S.O. Straws” currently sells for $6.99 on their website and can also be ordered in bulk. There is also a third option to pay $1 for shipping and receive five straws to try out for free.
The company has been reaching out to dining establishments throughout Auburn hoping to have them convert their plastic straws to “S.O. Straws,” and many have. Acre, a popular Auburn restaurant recently made a custom bulk order of all-black straws to match the aesthetic of their restaurant.
The main goal of the company is not to sell paper straws, but to encourage people to live an environmentally friendly life. “We think of paper straws as a stepping stone to a bigger life change,” explained Kornis.
Kornis and Kennedy hope to eventually expand their product line to feature products like “S.O. Cups,” “S.O. Plates,” and so forth, but still want to emphasize the impact switching to paper straws can make.
For more information about “S.O. Straws,” or to purchase your own set, visit their website at here, and as always,
Be well, Auburn.