How a 40-ounce Cup Turned Stanley into a $750 Million-a-year Business

Jan. 21, 2024

Over the past four years, Stanley Quencher has become one of the most popular water bottles in the world. The Quencher’s ever-growing range of colors and finishes greatly increased Stanley’s sales by appealing to a demographic Stanley hadn’t spent much time catering to in its first hundred years: women.
Quencher is beloved by nurses, teachers and celebrities, and Stanley’s annual sales are expected to top $750 million by 2023, according to data reviewed by CNBC Make It.
Here’s how Stanley used Quencher to transform a century-old company into one of the most recognized names in hydration.

In the early years

Quencher came out in 2016 to little fanfare. The 1,182ml thermos, which retails for between $45 and $55, features a handle for easy transport and a tapered design that slides into your car’s cup holder.
But for the first few years, the Quenchers didn’t make much of an impact. Year after year, the brand’s best-selling product remains its iconic green bottle. In fact, sales were so lackluster that by 2019 Stanley had stopped restocking and marketing the product.
In 2020, Stanley named Terence Reilly its new president. Reilly has been with Crocs for the past seven years, where he led the strategy to transform the rubber clog into one of the hottest shoes on the market.
When Reilly joined the company, he went on a listening tour around the company to hear from employees and learn what was working and what wasn’t. An employee mentioned a group of women in Utah who run a business blog called “Buying Guide.”
Buy Guide co-founder Ashlee LeSueur bought her first Quencher in 2017 at a Bed, Bath and Beyond store. She fell in love with the product and soon began gifting it to friends and recommending it to her followers.

Quencher retails for $35 to $55 and is available in dozens of colors and finishes.

In 2019, she tried to make a case for Stanley to continue producing the Quencher, but there were no sales figures. Instead, Stanley gave her another option: place a wholesale order and sell the quencher directly to her buying guide audience.
The mugs were sold out within days. When Reilly came on board, he viewed Buying Guide as a partner, working with them to promote exciting new colors like desert sage and cream.
“My experience at Crocs taught me that this kind of impactful opportunity was exactly the magic Stanley might need,” he said. “We were right. Buying Guide has proven to be an amazing partner in helping us create the Quencher shopping phenomenon.”
In fact, Quencher sold so well that it overtook the iconic Stanley bottle as the brand’s best-selling product of 2020. Since then, it has never relinquished its No. 1 spot.

Hydration dominates
Quencher's success helped Stanley grow annual revenue from $70 million to more than $750 million in four years.

With each new color of the Stanley Cup, sales continue to grow. Stanley’s revenue jumped from $73 million in 2019 to $94 million in 2020. That more than doubled in 2021 to $194 million.
For 2022, Stanley has released a redesigned Quencher model with a streamlined design and a range of new colors and finishes. Revenue doubled again that year, to $402 million.
The Instagram-worthy pastels allow Quencher to be viewed less as a utilitarian product and more as a fashion accessory. As the color options available grew (Stanley released the Quencher in over 100 colors), some fans began collecting thermos bottles in different styles and colors.
“We see all the time that [our customers] want her Quencher to match her fit, her nail polish, her car, her mood, her kitchen,” says Riley. Provide her services where she wants the product.”
Content creator Espejo first came into contact with and purchased Stanley’s Quencher thermos in 2022. She now has a collection of 47 mugs. As a fitness enthusiast, she feels the cup’s large size helps her stay hydrated during her workouts. A variety of color options would certainly be better.

This fan stated “On days when I have extra time, I look for specific [colors] that match my shirts, and I wouldn’t say Stanley’s are something I use. They’re actually part of my personality. If I Without it, my day wouldn’t be great if I didn’t choose the right colors.”
Espejo isn’t the only one with a strong attachment to Stanley Quencher. The cup is already a social media darling, especially on TikTok. The #StanleyTumbler hashtag has been viewed over 900 million times and the product has been the star of many viral videos.
“They are actually part of my personality. If I didn’t have [my Stanley], if I didn’t choose the right color, my day wouldn’t go the way I planned.” Said Chelsea Espejo, Stanley Quench Collector.
Stanley’s strategy is to drive excitement by releasing new colors in limited editions and promoting the latest products in its roster on social media. Reilly has also leveraged Quencher’s viral success to drive collaborations with celebrities and brands.
“My experience at Crocs has been driven by a collaborative culture and a Didi culture,” Reilly said. “I knew that once we got a foothold in Stanley, once we could see the connections we were making with consumers, we were ready to work together.”
In fact, collaboration is key to Stanley Quencher’s popularity. Quencher often releases limited edition colors that sell out within minutes. A recent collaboration with Starbucks on a red Quencher was resold on eBay for hundreds of dollars the same day it was released.

A recent collaboration with country music star Lainey Wilson sold out in minutes.

The consumer market has gone crazy again with the recent launch of new Quencher colors, with some stores having to limit the quantities customers can purchase, limiting them to a maximum of two per person at a time.
“The resale market is really exciting,” Reilly said. “The fact that America’s best retailers are showing signs of limiting the number of Stanleys you can buy is a shocking thing.”
On the day the Starbucks collaboration was released, Quencher collector Emily Farrand went to the local Starbucks at 5 a.m., determined to get this limited edition product.
While Reilly and the Stanley team still “want a little bit of scarcity” to help keep excitement around the product going, he said they’re constantly working on making as many products as possible. “Every time it goes down, we continue to increase the number of available units because we see the trend and the waiting lists growing,” he said. “But there are only so many seats in the stadium, and when they’re sold out, they’re sold out It’s over.”

Halo effect

Stanley has sold more than 10 million Quencher to date, and demand for the mugs doesn’t appear to be waning anytime soon.
The popularity of “The Quencher” on social media has also been a boon for Stanley’s other businesses. A rising tide lifts all boats, and this puts Stanley’s name in the minds of consumers, making them aware of the brand and trusting the brand. Naturally, they have a more positive and favorable view of Stanley’s other products.
In fact, Reilly says “the entire Stanley brand is benefiting from the Quencher trend.”

Stanley's entire lineup embraces Quencher's color palette.

This 110-year-old traditional product has been revived and taken its rightful place in culture and in meeting consumer needs. “
Careful observers may notice that Stanley’s product line draws on Quencher’s legacy, with beautiful colors and eye-catching designs used on both old and new Stanley products.
“[Quencher’s redesign] gave us confidence that we could apply these same aesthetic principles to other categories,” said Stanley design director Graham Nearn. “This gives us confidence that we can even begin to refine and define our best-known products.”


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