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Gants Hill inventor whose drink holder made from pizza box became lockdown hit set for sales in the millions

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 September 2020 | UPDATED: 07:10 02 September 2020

Barry Freeder, inventor of the CouchCoaster, which saw overseas sales skyrocket during lockdown. 
Picture: Daniel Hambury

Barry Freeder, inventor of the CouchCoaster, which saw overseas sales skyrocket during lockdown. Picture: Daniel Hambury

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A Gants Hill inventor who patented a spill-proof drink holder out of a used pizza box is expecting sales in the millions after his product became a hit with people confined to home during lockdown.

Barry, who is from Gants Hill, came up with the simple idea while struggling to find a place to put his beer while watching Match of the Day. Picture: Hit ProductsBarry, who is from Gants Hill, came up with the simple idea while struggling to find a place to put his beer while watching Match of the Day. Picture: Hit Products

Barry Freeder, founder of Hits Products, came up with the idea for the CouchCoaster while watching Match of the Day. He was drinking a beer and became frustrated that there was nowhere safe that he could set it down.

He used a Domino’s pizza box to make a rudimentary prototype that could hold his beer and attach to the sofa arm. And just like that the couchcoaster was born.

The final product has a silicone band that flaps over each side of a couch arm and a snug spot where you can rest a cold one.

Purchases of CouchCoaster and TableCoaster, an anti-spill drink holder for flat surfaces, took off during lockdown with more people watching Netflix on their sofa and homeworking at their dining tables.

He also patented theTableCoaster, an anti-spill drink holder which has also come in handy with people's offices moving to their dining table. Picture: Hit ProductsHe also patented theTableCoaster, an anti-spill drink holder which has also come in handy with people's offices moving to their dining table. Picture: Hit Products

The start-up is set to turn over £3million in US sales over the next five years.

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Barry said: “2020 has been filled with uncertainty but it just so happens that CouchCoaster and TableCoaster were the perfect 
‘sit at home’ and ‘work from 
home’ accessories during a pandemic.”

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has supported Hit Products with advice and funding after a meeting at an exhibition in 2016.

The government department supplied advice on how the business would be well-served to export its products to increase sales.

Thanks to the growth of international sales via Amazon to countries such as the US, Japan and Australia, the company has experienced a dramatic increase in its annual turnover, with exporting now accounting for more than 80 per cent of its sales.

The US is a key market with sales on Amazon’s US site increasing by 50pc year on year between 2017 and 2019.

Hit Products has recently begun exporting to Canada and is due to launch its third product - a mobile phone accessory - in the next couple of the months.

Minister for exports Graham Stuart said: “It is great to be able to support companies like Hit Products with e-exporting, as online sales are increasingly important to the UK’s recovery from the economic disruption caused by coronavirus.”


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