Starbucks has employees design reusable coffee cups

Starbucks announced today the three winners of its employee coffee cup design contest, each of whom created a design derived from nature and childhood.

Inspired by a similar contest Starbucks ran for customers last year, the chain’s Partner Communications & Engagement team launched the Starbucks Partner Cup Contest on Feb. 16. Store partners (employees) were given one week to decorate a Starbucks white cup with hand-drawn artwork, take a photo of their design and share it via social media using the #PartnerCupContest hashtag. 

The winning cup designs—drawn by Ben Cowley, a barista in Texas, Brynn James, a barista in Washington and Brandon Fragua, a shift supervisor in New Mexico—featured a night sky, a floral pattern and butterflies, respectively.

Aside from helping employees flex their creative muscles, the contest was a way for Starbucks to foster employee engagement and encourage brand interaction. “Our partners are an extremely important element in the fabric of our culture and our merchandise is the perfect way for them to express their passion for our brand,” Eric Akines, director of Starbucks global merchandise, said in a statement.

The selected designs will be printed on reusable tumblers available for customers to purchase later this year. The 16 oz. reusable cups are designed to look like Starbucks’ standard paper cups, but are sturdier and have a lifespan of around 30 uses. Customers receive a 10-cent discount when refilling a reusable cup.


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