LHS Grad’s Invention Ads Edge to Get-Togethers

Credits: supplied by Nancy Cirillo
Credits: supplied by Nancy Cirillo
Credits: supplied by Nancy Cirillo
Credits: supplied by Nancy Cirillo
Credits: supplied by Nancy Cirillo
Credits: supplied by Nancy Cirillo
Credits: supplied by Nancy Cirillo
Credits: supplied by Nancy Cirillo

LIVINGSTON, NJ - When 1986 Livingston High Graduate, Nancy Ramus Cirillo went to a dinner party at her friend Connie Kocherga’s house, she had no idea how monumental that night would be—it was the night that the two of them came up with their novel business idea called Drink Inks®.

“I was looking around for those charms you put on wine glasses so you know whose glass is whose, and Connie couldn’t find hers,” said Cirillo. “Then Connie asked her daughter to go and get some stickers and she brought us back some decals of different animals, from a board game, which were like the color forms I played with as a kid.”

Cirillo said that when the night was over they looked at each and said, “What a great idea.” And the rest was going to be history.

Sign Up for E-News

The party occurred in December of 2009, and the women spent the rest of the year and part of 2010 coming up with the name for their product and hammering out the details.

“We began by tossing around names for the company and decided on Drink Inks,” said Cirillo. “We then researched the name and were excited to find out that the name was not trademarked.”

Cirillo and Kocherga then began discussing the look and feel of their product.

“We wanted our Drink Inks to be unique, edgy and descriptive ice breakers and conversations starters and we didn’t want them to be boring. Basically, when you use typical wine glass charms, you have to remember what yours looks like, and because they aren’t personalized, it can sometimes be hard to remember if you had the pink one with two beads or the purple one with three beads. And, by the time the night ends you usually can’t remember which one was yours at all. With Drink Inks, there is no guessing whose drink is whose. You just pick a descriptive term to describe yourself or your mood, or use a blank one and write your own word or simply write your name.”

The women came up with 16 themes for their packages of Drink Inks, ten of which are as follows:  80's Phrases, Hip Phrases, Terms Of Endearment , Men with Attitude, Sports Phrases, Women with Attitude, Multicultural Toasts, Good Times, Holiday Fun, Wine Time. The other six are Write-Your-Owns using each of the company’s six different colored borders: black, green, hot pink, orange, red and turquoise.  

“What makes Drink Inks so unique and much better than wine charms is that they work on stemless glassware too,” said Cirillo.

Cirillo also said she had some great advice along the way.

“My husband and I are restaurant/bar owners, so we worked with our business’ graphic designer on the colors and fonts, and took the advice of our printer to outsource the printing of the decals. I also asked for advice via Facebook, and even after being out of touch for twenty years, Rob Kalishman, Marc Lapides and Mike Zakkour, who graduated LHS with me in 1986, reached out and advised me on business, sales and marketing. They went out of their way and not only called, emailed and messaged me often, they stayed in touch and continue to check in with me and follow my progress.”

Cirillo said it was not all smooth sailing along the way.

“We made a few mistakes and learned a lot. It took us a while to find the correct die cuts and actual decal materials. One batch came in where the die cuts were off, in another batch the decals were too thin, and with another the borders were printed askew. Our first large order of 13,000 arrived as stickers and not decals and had to be sent back.”

All mistakes aside, they finally arrived at a product they liked and were proud of. The partners did their first trade show in 2011 in Los Angeles, California and won the Outstanding Exhibitor Award of 2011.

Drink Inks first took off in the local market by lining the aisles of California stores and wineries like: Belle Marie Winery, Keil’s Food Stores, Siesel’s Meats, Iowa Meat Farms, Great News Discount Cookware and Cooking School, Pangaea Outpost, Pangaea Outpost Flower Hill Mall, Leaping Lotus, Wine Country Gifts, Mermaids, Thorton Winery, Uncorked- The Wine Shop, and With Gratitude in Baltimore, MD, as well as a few stores in Arizona and on the East Coast.

Cirillo said that Drink Ink’s big break came in April of 2013 when Party City agreed to do a test run of 13 themes in 50 stores in Texas, Georgia, Florida and Chicago, and a test run of the “Women with Attitude” theme in over 100 stores across the country and online.

“It is a really exciting time. We were told that with the run of all 13 themes, some stores sold out and that the line running in 100+ stores is selling well too.“ 

Cirillo said her hope is that Party City makes Drink Inks a permanent product on their shelves to be put in their 800+ stores.

When Cirillo isn’t jotting down future marketing plans for Drink Inks, which are easily removable, reusable, hand washable, and can be stored on other packaging, she is discovering more uses for Drink Inks, which adhere to glassware, crystal, acrylic and plastic.

“I like to use the ‘Write-Your-Own’ Drink Inks for organizing things in my home like plastic shoe boxes, coffee and tea canisters, as well as craft bins, and food in the fridge and freezer. I also love that I can remove anything I write in permanent marker with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover, and then write something else on the Drink Inks when I reuse them.”

As Cirillo waits to hear whether Party City will be placing a larger order, she is enjoying the notes she receives from customers who buy her products via her website www.drinkinks.com. She especially likes one from a woman with seven kids who said she wrote the names of each child on a decal and reuses them daily on mason jars to keep her from wasting glasses or plastic cups all day long.

“Drink Inks are so smart, so easy and are a no-brainer to add fun and excitement to any party, whether it is girls’ night out, a dinner party, bridal shower, baby shower, children’s party, etc. They also prevent waste and are cost-effective.  And, they fit anywhere. In fact, we made them oval to fit at the base of a wine glass.”

Cirillo resides in San Diego, California with her husband Mark and children Matthew, 12 and Carli, 14. She enjoys brewing her own tea, playing tennis competitively with her son Matthew, and watching her daughter follow in her footsteps as an avid and accomplished softball player.

In this column, Jackie Goldman-Schatell, publisher at TAPinto.net, finds the stories to take her fellow Livingstonians on trips visiting past and current Livingston residents. Do you remember 'so and so' from high school? Can you believe he is staring in a new reality show? That weird guy from your freshman science class does WHAT for a living now?! Find out here!

Schatell welcomes interviewee suggestions and readers are encouraged to email her at: jschatell@tapinto.net.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Free Flavors Soft Serve Ice Cream (Jr. Cup or Cone) With Coupon

May 23, 2018

Fairfield, NJ - Flavors Homemade Ice Cream is offering a FREE soft serve ice cream (jr. cup or cone) when you spend $10 or more with coupon.

Flavors Homemade Is located at 653 Rt 46 West (1.98 mi) in Fairfield, New Jersey 07004 next to Jose Tejas.

*Homemade Ice Cream

*Italian Ice


*Fresh waffles 

*ice ...

Evolve Cycle And Fitness Presale Happening Now!

CALDWELL, NJ - Evolve Cycle and Fitness is now offering 10 classes for only $90. That’s only $9 a class when you purchase before its official Grand Opening on Friday, June 1, 2018. 

Only two weeks left to take advantage of this limited time offer! Call Martha at 973-979-5919 or click here to sign up.

Evolve Cycle and Fitness is a Premier Fitness Boutique ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, May 24, 6:30 PM

Heritage Middle School , Livingston

Livingston Public Schools Presents: 6th to 7th ...



Thu, May 24, 7:00 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Understanding Hearing Loss

Health & Wellness


Thu, May 24, 7:30 PM

Heritage Middle School , Livingston

Livingston Public Schools Presents: 6th to 7th ...


Montclair HS Student Reported Sexual Assault in All-Gender Bathroom, Officials Say

May 17, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - According to published reports on Wednesday, Montclair Police officials are investigating allegations of sexual assault reported to have occurred in a bathroom at Montclair High School.

Montclair police officials state that officers received a report about an incident at the high school of a sexual nature that occurred around 3:18 p.m. on Monday. The ...

Still Time to Register for Livingston's Fall Intown Soccer

May 14, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Although a late fee may be applied as of May 13, registration is still open for the Fall 2018 Intown Soccer season in Livingston, including the high school co-ed program.

Livingston Soccer Club's (LSC) Intown program is all about sportsmanship, making friends, getting some exercise and learning a bit about soccer along the way. LSC provides the following ...

10-Year-Old Cancer Patient Receives Donation from Randolph Hockey Family

May 21, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ — While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real-life battles off the ice, there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the members of the Randolph varsity hockey team, when they came together to ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&M@royalwedbot.co.uk.  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...