Two brothers are selling custom cups for a cure.
Charlie Androli, 13, and Adian Androli, 11, of Waseca, came up with an idea to create custom cups to raise money for a cure against tuberous sclerosis complex. Their older sister, Larissa Yeager Androli, passed away from tuberous sclerosis complex almost 10 years ago after being diagnosed at age 3. Her diagnosis led the Androlis to search for a cure.
“Well, we kind of just thought it would be something fun to do and we’re also raising money …,” Charlie said.
Adian added, “The reason that we wanted to start selling the cups is because we want to find a cure for tuberous sclerosis complex.”
Tuberous sclerosis complex is a genetic disorder characterized by the growth of numerous noncancerous tumors in many parts of the body. These tumors can occur in the skin, brain, kidneys and other organs.
This disease affects everyone differently. When Larissa was diagnosed, she was only the third case Rochester Mayo had seen, but when she died, there were about 300 cases. Danielle Androli, mom in the family, said that Larissa was “pretty much a guinea pig in Rochester.”
“That’s why it’s called tuberous sclerosis complex, because there’s such a variety,” Danielle said. “It’s not just one thing; there’s a wide variety of what this disease can do and when you go to a walk it’s crazy the difference and what each parent has to deal with.”
Cup designing idea
Wanting to help find a cure and to keep the memory and spirit of Larissa alive, Charlie and Adian decided to start a custom cup business, C & A Cup Design, around Thanksgiving 2018. Danielle was already making cups for her friends, so the brothers thought it would be something they could do too and raise money to donate to finding a cure.
“I think starting off wasn’t that hard since mom was already doing it for friends and we thought we could do it for tuberous sclerosis, so that wasn’t that hard to think of, but probably just the hardest part is making the cups and getting the word out basically,” Adian said.
Charlie and Adian create a variety of designs on different cups, from metal to plastic and all different sizes.
To create the designs on the mugs, they use fabric that they hodgepodge on and finish with an epoxy or they use alcohol ink or vinyl designs to get the desired finished products. They can get an average cup out within the week, because the epoxy takes three to four days to dry.
So far, they have been to two vendor fairs to sell their mugs, otherwise there is a website where people can purchase the cups from. Most of the sales are coming from the custom orders people place at the vendor shows. They have sold over 80 cups so far.
In every cup they sell, they place their business card inside, so the purchaser knows how to care for the cup and where the money will be donated.
“One thing I love to do at vendor fairs is I’ll check out all of the booths before the thing starts. That way I can be there to sell,” Adian said.
For every cup that is purchased, $5 is donated. Since starting their business they have raised $400 to donate to finding a cure.
“In the past, the most we have raised was $1,000, and last year we raised $500,” Danielle Androli said. “We didn’t do so well like we wanted, and so far this year we have raised $400 from these cups.”
The brothers aren’t sure where the future will take C & A Cup Designs. They do know they would like to stay in Minnesota and keep things local for the time being.
“I think their biggest thing right now is they don’t know where it’s going to go. It’s new and their biggest goal was just to raise money, at this point, but who knows,” Danielle said. “… I think it’s kind of cool they want to work together and help out their sister and the disease. It’s not a very well known disease for one thing and so more or less getting the word out there and finding a cure helping those who are still suffering.”
“I could see us doing this for a long time, but it should still be pretty small,” added Charlie.
In the near future they plan on attending farmers markets and another vendor show.
Before the brothers were selling cups, the family — Danielle, her husband Jason, and their kids — attended walks put on every year to raise money for the cure at Como Zoo. They started the walks with Larissa, and after she died, the family kept attending to make connections with others who were affected or were supporting someone with tuberous sclerosis.
The walks lost popularity and attendance started to drop, so they ended in Minnesota, which is why the boys, with the help and encouragement of Danielle, founded C & A Cup Designs.
“In all reality, we’re more looking at it as how can we raise money for a cure; we’re not looking at it as how we can make money,” Danielle said.
They are active on their Facebook page, C & A Cup Designs, where people can continue to buy cups even when there is no vendor show. For the brothers, the project is about a family member they never got to know, but it’s also about helping any other family prevent the same kind of loss.
“We might not of actually known her since we were so young, but it’s still a good way to help the cause,” Adian said.