Meet Ibby – Starbucks barista designing an inspiring future

Meet Ibrahim Tarafdar – Ibby for short – who’s a young graphic designer and barista based in Cardiff, Wales. A loyal customer turned partner (employee), Ibby joined Starbucks in 2010, the same year he started studying graphic communication at college.

Ibby who was born and raised in the UK and is the eldest of five children in his family. His parents immigrated from Bangladesh, which meant at home he did not use English as his first language and while this was an initial barrier, it became something he learnt to quickly overcome.

“When I went to school, I was good at art and reading, which were two skills needed to pursue my passion for Graphic Communication.”

As a creative individual, Ibby recalls his first impression of Starbucks was the iconic Siren, a mythological creature at the centre of our cups, always ensuring the bold colour green is front-and-centre.

“In 2011, Howard Schultz released his book ‘Onward’…it was after reading this book that my respect and loyalty towards Starbucks was greatly increased.”

American culture and lifestyle have always been a big fascination for Ibby. Upon graduating from university in 2014, he decided to work on his own business, balancing life as a Starbucks barista at the same time. Ibby’s career break came when he designed the brand logo for world champion boxer, Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, who is signed to Floyd Mayweather. This high-profile project has given him great exposure, and people started reaching out to him through email and social media from all over the U.S., which has proved key to his continued success. However, one thing that has kept Ibby grounded throughout is his local Starbucks community.

“Starbucks has always given me that platform to connect with people from all walks of life. This is important for me as it resonates personally, but it is also in our Mission and Values ‘“to create a culture of warmth and belonging where everyone is welcome’.”

Throughout his 10 years at Starbucks, connection remains one of his favourite aspects of the role. He recalls that Starbucks is all about: “creating moments of connection with customers who sometimes only visit when I’m working and still remember my name after all these years.”

Ibby also talks about connection with his fellow partners (employees), “working together with partners has helped me understand how to be a team player and work collaboratively to deliver the Starbucks Experience.”

Over the years, he feels his connection has grown towards his local community, who he enjoys working with his role in store. He has been invited to schools and universities and does a lot of public speaking, and one thing he always mention is Starbucks, given it is such a prominent part of his life.

'Believe in your dreams and dream big. And then after you’ve done that, dream bigger’ (Howard Schultz quote) – This is something I have been able to accomplish. I really do feel that Starbucks allowed me to achieve my dreams.”

“When you hear my story, it instantly gives you hope that our Mission and Values really go beyond the four walls of the store, they are life-long values. There is an abundance of knowledge and wisdom that every partner can learn from; not only my story, but the hundreds of people we serve daily.”

Since 1971, Starbucks has been a different kind of company. Our mission has been to inspire and nurture the human spirit. Starbucks believes in making a positive difference for partners, customers, and society around our three core areas – inclusion, opportunity, and community – to create a warm, welcoming experience for all who visit our stores, and a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable work experience at every level within Starbucks.