One Year Later, Starbucks White Cup Contest Winner Grateful to Inspire Others

Every artist is compelled to create.

They do so hoping their efforts – through music, dance, writing or art – will have an impact on others. Most spend their lives not knowing whether they’ve made a difference.

Brita Lynn Thompson, who describes herself as “just a normal girl who loves to create,” said she’s one of the “lucky ones” who has heard from thousands of people since winning the Starbucks White Cup Contest last summer.

The company-sponsored design competition encouraged customers in the U.S. and Canada to decorate a Starbucks® reusable cup with their original customized art and submit a photo through social media using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest.

Starbucks received nearly 4,000 entries. Thompson’s striking black and white contemporary design was chosen as the winner, and made available on a limited-edition reusable cup. (Starbucks reusable cups debuted in January of 2013. The 16 fl. oz. cup is sturdier than paper, but thinner than a typical tumbler with a lifespan of about 30 uses). Due to its popularity, Thompson’s reusable cup is available for purchase in participating Starbucks® stores in the U.S. and Canada this summer, while supplies last.

We caught up with the 21-year-old Pittsburgh art student to find out how her life has changed since winning the Starbucks customer design contest.

Since we have last talked, my life has been so busy. Busy with great things!

I have created my own little business that almost 27,000 people follow. Trying to wrap my head around that number is very difficult, but I am so thankful every day for all of it.

This past June, I was in Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Arts Festival – one of the premier art festivals in the U.S. – so just getting accepted was an accomplishment. Ever since I was little, I’ve dreamed about being in that festival, and the feeling that I had while being a part of it was incredible. One life goal accomplished!

Winning the contest last June, was really the launch of my dream. Ever since the day Starbucks announced that I was the winner, my life changed. It has never been this great. I get choked up thinking about it sometimes because it is truly an amazing feeling to have thousands and thousands of strangers say that I, Brita Lynn Thompson, inspire them to create. I never thought in a million years I would be such an inspiration to that many people or to anyone at all. Being able to connect with people all around the world through what I love to do makes me happy. I’m lucky and grateful.

When I walk into a Starbucks and see my cup, excitement overwhelms me. I purchased the first cup with my design from a Starbucks store in Rockville, MD. I was visiting my bother and sister-in-law’s new baby girl, my beautiful niece. I walked into Starbucks, saw it and just smiled. My sister was with me and although she was embarrassing me by taking pictures, I’m glad she captured the moment.

Even though it has been a year since I won the contest, it still all seems too good to be true. It almost seems like one day, I’m going to wake up and be back in my life before all of this happened – back to being just a normal girl who loves to create. But now that normal girl inspires people around the world. I can’t say thank you enough.

thumbnail for 2024 Starbucks summer highlights

2024 Starbucks summer highlights