A Whimsical Source Inspires Designers of Teavana Merchandise

A creative spark can come from a variety of sources, real and imagined.

For Fumi James and Mia Gerbino, a fictitious character named Dottie Bloomington was their muse while creating artwork for Teavana’s 2015 holiday merchandise collection.

“While designing, we kept a gracious Teavana host in mind, who invites her friends to an elegant holiday party,” said James, creative design manager at Starbucks. “We thought of the ultimate hostess who curates gifts in a thoughtful, beautiful way,” added Gerbino, Starbucks senior designer.

The duo focused on creating artwork they imagined Dottie Bloomington would enjoy. They mixed and matched graphic patterns in bold colors, coupled with softer, more artful features.

“Our design direction provided a visual center for us to refer to as we worked,” said James. “We used it to challenge our designs and determine if we had created the right mood, look or feel.”

To begin the creative process, a team of designers devoted an afternoon to hands-on creative brainstorming in their studio. They sat down at a table filled with art supplies and created patterns to adorn cups, gift boxes, shopping bags and other merchandise. Elements from their designs were taken from the ingredients found in Teavana® teas, including orange peels, hibiscus flowers and green tea leaves.

“We used a variety of mediums, including watercolor paint, pen and ink,” said Gerbino. “We set aside our favorite designs and enhanced them to look more modern.”

“Because we had such a clear concept, it was easy to make decisions about the artwork to use,” said James. “We wanted to make sure that the design felt fun, bold and chic.”

A bright red hibiscus flower print decorated with tiny gold dots is one of several designs resulting from the team’s collaboration. This pattern is found on merchandise aptly named after Dottie, which includes mugs, tea tins and greeting cards.

Last Minute Gift Ideas

As Super Saturday approaches – the last Saturday before Christmas, and likely the busiest shopping day of the year – customers can purchase Teavana® merchandise from the Dottie collection and other products at participating Teavana stores and on Teavana.com. A description of the latest special offers can also be found online. Following are a few items perfect for last-minute gifts.

Dottie Tea Tin – Made in Japan of tin-plated steel and hand-wrapped in custom-designed paper, this airtight tin holds 5 ounces of tea.

Stackable Dottie Red Tea Tins – These festive tins offer the best way to keep flavors fresh and prevent intermingling. Each tin holds 2 ounces of tea.

Holiday Dottie Greeting Card – Add a special touch to any gift with this Teavana-exclusive greeting card.

Cheer + Revelry Collection Sampler – This assortment includes four two-ounce packets of loose leaf tea including White Chocolate Peppermint Rooibos Tea, CocoCaramel Sea Salt™ Herbal Tea, Chocolate Chai Black Tea and Gingerbread Black Tea.

Teavana® Gift Collection – One of Teavana’s most popular gift items, this box includes everything needed to create a perfect cup of tea, including a 16-ounce Perfectea® Maker, 16 ounces of Perfectea Rock Sugar, a Perfectea Teaspoon, four exclusive airtight reusable tins and four of Teavana's most popular teas: Mateyana tea, Strawberry Lemonade herbal tea, Sakura Allure Green tea and Rooibos Chai tea.

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Starbucks to lead first-ever city-wide reusable cup project in California with NextGen Consortium