If you're in the market for an insulated bottle or tumbler, you'll find a lot to choose from. There are mugs and bottles targeted to sport-enthusiasts, outdoorsy types, and extreme adventurists, but as Tracee Mathes saw it, there weren’t any for the average woman - the busy mom, girl on the go, or boss lady – who wanted an uber-insulated and ultra-cute drinkware option. That gave the life-long entrepreneur an idea.
Mathes set out to meet that need in 2017 when she launched SWIG, offering premium drinkware with women in mind. The company’s cups, tumblers and bottles rely on the same insulation technology that keeps other stainless steel hydration vessels cold or hot - including vacuum insulation, stainless steel double-walls and copper-coated linings. But SWIG differs from its competitors with its creative and appealing designs. SWIG offers more shapes, sizes and color choices (20!) than anyone else on the market, but what really sets them apart is their insulated stainless steel stemless wine cup – a SWIG original creation that took the marketplace by surprise!
“Wine and wine accessories are very on trend right now and there was no stainless steel insulated stemless wine cup on the market - so we created one - and the response was unbelievable!” said Mathes. “We focused on a shape that was comfy to hold and made them in irresistible colors and finishes. Before we could blink, we had sold over 1 million cups and developed quite the following.”
SWIG’s stemless wine cup is an inventive, portable way to enjoy wine at the perfect temperature – indoors or outdoors. While other companies have jumped on the bandwagon, Mathes says SWIG is the brand customers always ask for when searching for this style.
The company makes colored cups, tumblers and bottles in an array of eye-catching colors from pearl and rose gold to coral and hydrangea and their branding is on-target for the female demographic they serve. The designs make SWIG a far cry from ordinary hydration vessels. Mathes says as a designer it’s rewarding to see consumers value something she created.
“Let’s be honest, it the grand scheme of life it’s just a cup…BUT…they are pretty to look at and work great. They also make a great gift and it just makes your heart happy when using one,” said Mathes.
While SWIG’s claim to fame is its 12-ounce stemless wine cup, all of SWIG’s products are geared towards busy, stylish women and moms. It’s 17-ounce bottles appeal to exercise buffs who want to throw it in their bag and go, its 20-ounce and 30-ounce tumblers are popular for morning motivation like coffee and tea, while the company’s 50-ounce travel bottles make a splash with outdoor enthusiasts and hold two full bottles of wine. And they just rolled-out their 6-ounce stemless champagne flute which was another immediate success.
SWIG has quickly grown to employ 15 amazing women and is currently hiring several more positions while also looking for a new corporate office location, since they have outgrown their existing one. Even before its launch, it was clear Mathes would be an entrepreneur to be reckoned with.
“I have always “hustled.” At age 8, I sold puppies from a wagon in our neighborhood, at 12, I sold stationary door-to-door, in college, I started a custom gift-basket business, in my early 30s, I opened two retail stores and now, at 45, I am still full of ideas! I have a masters degree in sociology with a focus on consumer research,” she said. “I was a sales and marketing executive for several media companies before stepping out to open my first store and to follow my passion. I am a risk taker and I will work endlessly to make an idea work!”
As for the future of SWIG, Mathes says she plans to grow the brand to include all types of hydration and insulation products including cups, barware, coolers and coozies with a goal of adding products to the line every six months. SWIG also offers a custom printed division for companies and events that want to add their logo to a SWIG and are pursuing co-branded licensing deals with companies such as Vineyard Vines, Simply Southern and Mossy Oak.
Mathes attributes SWIG’s loyal customer base in part to the company always putting customers first. It offers a complete refund to buyers who aren’t completely wowed by the product - for any reason – as well as a one-year warranty on every item.
While men enjoy SWIG’s products too, the line remains at its core a female-oriented brand. Mathes says she plans to continue building a brand focused on the average woman who wants a stylish, well-made product for her on-the-go lifestyle.
Mathes is a native of Richmond, VA. She attended the University of Richmond (bachelors) and the University of Virginia (masters). While Mathes’ husband, Ralph, is not an employee of the company, he is deeply involved and supports the business efforts in many ways. Ralph owns a freelance design company, Black Rooster Design, and consults with SWIG. Their younger son, Ty, attends 6th grade at a local private school and enjoys basketball, track and video gaming. Mathes’ older son, Cameron, is grown and pursuing his own passions. Tracee enjoys decorating, renovating – and drinking wine from a SWIG, of course!