NEWBERRY — Two local women refer to themselves as the brains behind a new business that might provide internships for students in Newberry.
Tania Sosiak and Sara-Anne Ringer, along with their husbands, have started Easy-Eat Plate, a plate that comes with a built in cup holder. Sosiak said the plate allows consumers to have a free hand while at dinner parties and special events.
The plates can also be branded with a company logo or favorite football team logo such as the University of South Carolina, which they hope will be perfect for use while tailgating.
Sosiak, a professor of graphic design at Newberry College, said the idea came to them when she and her husband, Kenny Wilson, were introduced to Ringer and her husband, Dean, by someone at Newberry College. Dean, an entrepreneur, had already come up with the general idea, and together they decided to work together and base their operation in Newberry.
Although Ringer and her husband live in London, England, she is originally from Pomaria. Her husband was born in London, but after they were married, they came to Newberry.
“It was December and we were out for our anniversary at Cabana’s and we took a walk,” said Ringer, a former interior designer. Her husband felt Newberry was beautiful as if it were straight off a movie set and he really wanted to put his ideas to work in this area.
The couple has two children — Leona, 5, and Cass, 3. Because of their love of Newberry, the family also owns a home in Pomaria and they visit often for months at a time.
Kenny and Dean handle sales for the product. For now, the group is working out of their homes until they find an office space in Newberry. Sosiak said they hope to be in a building within the next six months.
Currently, prototypes have been made of the plates, and molds are being made for the actual plates, which will be dishwasher safe. Sosiak said the molds should be completed in three to four months. The plate will be made in Spartanburg, but a distribution center will be located in Newberry County.
With Sosiak’s classes set to begin in a few months, she said she has ideas in how to involve her students in the business.
“I really hope to get students interning with us in different areas,” said Sosiak, who has a master’s in industrial design.
Sosiak also hopes Newberry County graduates will find job opportunities with the company once they establish a distribution center in Newberry. She is working with some of her students to make promotional videos for the product and come up with a jingle.
Ringer said Leona will most likely have a tutor in the Newberry area so she can keep up with her schoolwork.
“I don’t know if we will end up back here (Newberry) or back home (London),” Ringer said. “It’s just one of those things to just let God guide us. This (Newberry) will always be home and my favorite place.”
Visit easyeatplate.com for more information about the plates or to order them. Five plates are $8.99, and those with a Newberry ZIP Code will receive 30 percent off.