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Drink Out of Your Glass and Eat It, Too Meet the startup creating tasty edible glasses that could take a bite out of landfills.

By Jodi Helmer

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Entrepreneurs: Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker, who met while attending Parsons The New School for Design in New York, created Loliware, a line of edible, biodegradable drinking cups that look like colorful vintage glassware. "Loliware was born because, as designers, we wanted to have fun getting super-creative with a material, but we have a bigger vision that Loliware will replace a percentage of the plastic cups destined for the landfill," Tucker says.

"Aha" moment: After their 2010 graduation, Briganti and Tucker (along with two other Parsons alums) entered a few design competitions. For the Jell-O Mold Competition, they designed an edible drinking glass, experimenting with several materials, including gelatin, before settling on agar, a seaweed-based gel that is odorless and tasteless and can be flavored in infinite ways. The product, originally called Jelloware, earned a prize for structural integrity and generated a lot of buzz. When vodka-maker Absolut inquired about ordering 60,000 agar cups for use at an outdoor concert, the designers realized that a project that was intended merely to boost their portfolios could become a viable business. Briganti and Tucker formed a partnership to move forward. (The other two decided not to pursue the project.)

Tastemakers: The prototype was a hit in the design competition but a long way from being ready for market, so Briganti and Tucker entered a development phase in the kitchen of their Brooklyn apartment, continuing to experiment with agar. While gelatin "has beautiful translucency, like glass," Briganti explains, "it smells bad and tastes terrible." Agar, meanwhile, holds its shape and has the benefit of being vegan. Perfecting the taste became a priority. "We were designers turned candy-makers," she says. "We had to learn how to translate our design skills to the kitchen."

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