The Seattle-based brand generates a comfortable $70 million in annual sales for its famous Hammertone Green products and looks poised to continue another century of modest but reliable success. Ta.
However, since the beginning of 2020, something has changed. The fledgling product came into its own and turned Stanley into a huge company.
Over the past four years, the Stanley Quencher has become one of the most popular water bottles in the world. Quencher, available in an ever-increasing variety of colors and finishes, has significantly boosted Stanley's sales by appealing to a demographic that Stanley didn't spend much time catering to in his first 100 years: women. .
Used by nurses, teachers, and celebrities alike, Quencher is such a popular product that Stanley's annual sales are expected to reach 750 million in 2023, according to data reviewed by CNBC Make It. It is predicted to exceed the dollar amount.
Learn how Stanley leverages quenchers to transform a 100-year-old company into one of the largest players in the hydration space.
Quencher arrived in 2016 with little fanfare. The 40-ounce insulated cup retailed for $45 to $55 and featured a handle for easy carrying and a tapered design that allowed it to slide into a car cup holder.
However, for the first few years, Quencher did not make much of an impact. Year after year, the brand's best-selling product remained its iconic green bottle. In fact, sales were middling, and by 2019, Stanley had stopped restocking and selling the product.
In 2020, Stanley welcomed Terrence Riley as its new president. Riley spent the past seven years at Crocs, leading the strategy that turned rubber clogs into one of the most popular shoes on the market.
When Riley joined the company, he went around the company and asked employees what was working and what wasn't. One employee mentioned a group of women in Utah who run a commerce blog called “The Buy Guide.”
Buy Guide co-founder Ashlee LeSueur purchased her first Quencher in 2017 at a Bed, Bath and Beyond store. She fell in love with the product and immediately began gifting it to her friends and recommending it to her followers.
Quencher retails between $35 and $55 and is available in dozens of colors and finishes.
In 2019, she tried to persuade Stanley to continue producing Quencher, but sales did not increase. Instead, Stanley gave her another option. That means placing wholesale orders to sell Quencher directly to readers of her buying guide.
“It felt like signing a mortgage,” LeSueur told CNBC Make It about the order book for 5,000 Quenchers. “It was a big risk. I needed every penny I had in my business account, plus my personal funds, to make it happen.”
However, those quenchers sold out within days. When Riley took over, he took on Buying Guide as a partner and helped promote new and exciting colors such as his sage and cream desserts.
“Our experience at Crocs showed us that influencer opportunities like that were exactly the magic we needed at Stanley,” he says. “And we were right. Buying Guides proved to be a great partner and helped create the Quencher phenomenon.”
In fact, Quencher sold so well that it replaced the iconic Stanley bottle as the brand's best-selling product in 2020. Since then, it hasn't ceded its top spot.
The success of Quencher increased Stanley's annual revenue from $70 million to more than $750 million in four years.
Sales continued to increase as new Stanley colors were released. Stanley's earnings jumped from $73 million in 2019 to $94 million in 2020. In 2021, he more than doubled to $194 million.
In 2022, Stanley releases a redesigned Quencher model with a streamlined design and new colors and finishes. Revenue that year doubled again to $402 million.
The Instagram-friendly pastel colors make Quencher more recognizable as a fashion accessory than a utilitarian product. As more color options became available (Stanley has released over 100 of her quenchers), some fans started building collections.
“We see it all the time [our customer] “She wants a quencher that fits her fit, her manicure, her car, her mood, her kitchen,” Riley told CNBC Make It, adding, “We're delivering products where she wants them.” ” he said.
Content creator Chelsea Espejo first learned about Quencher in 2022. Currently she has her collection of 47 cups. A gym enthusiast, she believes the larger cup size helps her stay hydrated during her workouts. The rich color options certainly don't hurt either.
“On days when I have free time, I look for something specific.” [color] It matches my shirt,” she told CNBC Make It. “I wouldn't even say Stanley is something I use. In fact, they're part of my personality. If I don't have it or don't choose the right color, my day won't go as planned. It’s not progressing.”
Espejo isn't the only one with a strong attachment to her quencher. This cup is a social media favorite, especially on her TikTok. Her #StanleyTumbler hashtag has been viewed over 900 million times, and the product has been the star of many viral videos..
In fact, they are part of my personality.If you don't have it [my Stanley]if you don't choose the right color, your day may not go as planned.
stanley quencher collector
Driving this excitement is Stanley's strategy of releasing new colors in limited edition drops and promoting its latest products on social media. Riley also capitalized on Quencher's viral success by promoting collaborations with celebrities and brands.
“My experience at Crocs was fueled by a culture of collaboration and a culture of drop,” Riley says. “And once we got our feet wet with Stanley and saw the consumer connection we were creating, we knew we would be ready to collaborate.”
In fact, collaboration has been key to Stanley Quencher's popularity. Quencher frequently releases limited edition colors that sell out within minutes. A recent collaboration with Starbucks launched the Red Quencher, and he was reselling it on eBay for hundreds of dollars the day it was released.
A recent collaboration with country music star Laney Wilson sold out in minutes.
When Target recently introduced new colors of Quencher, some stores had to place limits on the number customers could purchase, capping them at two per person.
“The resale market is certainly strong,” Riley said. “The fact that there are signs in America's best retail stores restricting the number of Stanley purchases is surprising when you think about it.”
Quencher collector Emily Ferlander headed to her local Starbucks at 5 a.m. on the day the Starbucks collaboration went on sale, determined to get her hands on the limited edition item.
“I'm not usually that crazy, but I'm not really that crazy,” she tells Make It. “But I couldn't get it in the end. [drop]So I thought, “I'll just wake up early.''
And while Riley and the Stanley team “hope for a little bit of scarcity” to keep the product exciting, he says, they're always working on producing as many products as possible.
“We're actually continuing to increase the number of units available with each decline because we're seeing trends and waiting lists increasing,” he says. “However, seats in the stadium are limited and when seats are sold out, they are sold out.”
Stanley has now sold more than 10 million Quenchers, and demand for the cup doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.
Quencher's popularity on social media has also benefited Stanley's other businesses. Erin Briggs, a brand analyst at Morning Consult, told CNBC Make It that when the tide rises, all boats rise.
“The Stanley name is now in consumers' minds, and they recognize the brand and have a more favorable perception of it,” Briggs told Make It.
In fact, Riley says, “The entire Stanley brand is benefiting from the quencher trend.”
The entire Stanley lineup features the Quencher colors.
“Our new products have been checked very well,” he says. “And indeed, our traditional products have regained their speed and regained their rightful place in meeting cultural and consumer needs.”
For Espejo, who learned about the brand through Quencher, Stanley has become a mainstay in his cupboard, along with glasses and mugs.
“Now when you walk into any store, the first thing you see is the Stanley collection, whether it's a mug or a quencher,” she says. “My love is [the Quencher] It gave me the opportunity to love everything about Stanley. ”
Close observers may notice that Stanley's product line makes up part of Quencher's book. Aesthetic colors and eye-catching designs feature on Stanley products both old and new.
”[The Quencher redesign] Graham Niang, Stanley's head of design, said: “This gave us the confidence to apply the same aesthetic principles to other categories, allowing us to refine the products we were best known for. , it gave us the confidence to even begin to define it.”
And while Quencher's success was largely fueled by its embrace of color that appealed to a new female audience, Stanley was clearly onto something with its first 110 years.
One of Quencher's most sought-after new colors? Hammertone Green.
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