Your connection to the University of Michigan-Dearborn | Fall 2018

The Last Straw You'll Ever Buy

The war on plastic straws means business is booming for alumnus Brian Surowiec.

Surowiec (’00 B.S.) has had a super lucky year — if you subscribe to the idea that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. He and his wife, Daedra, had been plugging away at building their reusable glass straw company, Strawesome, for a good 10 years, when in early  2018, tens of thousands of households, huge corporations like Starbucks, major cities like Seattle and even entire countries like Costa Rica suddenly and collectively declared plans to outlaw single-use plastic straws. 

“Up until then, our business had always been a part-time thing,” Surowiec said. “But now, we’re getting four or five wholesale inquiries every day. We’re setting up new distributorships around the world. We’re getting calls from CNN to talk about the plastic straw issue. And our sales — as of August, we’d already doubled our numbers over last year.” 

Surprisingly, the literal mom-and-pop outfit has basically been able to keep pace with production (the two of them can make about 1,000 a day) — though they’ve recently scaled up to full time. Surowiec said they may need more hands on deck soon, though, as they jump on this unexpected chance to take Strawesome global.

“We kind of see ourselves as the Apple of glass straws. We want to prioritize great design, excellent service and innovation,” he said. And the fact that their straws carry a lifetime replacement warranty means one of theirs could be the last straw you ever buy. 

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