New Starbucks merch collaboration celebrates togetherness and joy in the everyday

Tumber, Cold Cup and Mug on pink background

During the pandemic, artist Monyee Chau found an unusual solution to keep their cat Moro happy and out of the houseplants. It was a flower cat costume with a hood surrounded in petals from an online mystery package, and Chau found that Moro relaxed whenever he was wearing it. “We loved dressing him up, it really calmed him down being in clothes. Most of the time we put him in clothes so that he wouldn’t mess with our plants – we have so many in our house,” Chau said. 

Finding those small moments of togetherness and everyday joy was the inspiration for Chau with the newest merchandise collection for the Starbucks Artist Collaboration Series, which celebrates the unique stories of artists from all over the world. The collection, guest-starring Moro in costume, will be available in U.S. Starbucks stores this summer to honor Asian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.  

Chau, who uses they and them pronouns, grew up spending time in their family seafood restaurant in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, an experience that has deeply influenced their life and art.

Monyee Chau stands in front of large gate at entry to Seattle's Chinatown-International District.
Photo by Sunny Martini

“Being a descendant of Chinese immigrants, a lot of my work feels like a practice of relationship and of healing,” Chau said. “It comes out in different ways of just celebrating the life I get to have and embracing all of those cultural traditions that have been really integral to building who I am.” 

Each design is stamped with Chau’s signature, designed to look like a traditional Chinese stamp with their initials and the Chinese character for their last name as a way to honor their family. “Being raised in a seafood restaurant in Seattle has influenced that sense of togetherness – working together and celebrating together,” Chau said. “Appreciating those small moments were really illustrated in all of these vessels.” 

Three pieces of Chau’s drinkware, which includes a 24-ounce cold cup, a 16-ounce stainless steel tumbler and a 14-ounce ceramic mug, will be available at Starbucks stores in the United States starting in May, while supplies last.

Cold Cup

The collection’s 24-ounce cold cup depicts a comfortable home scene with two figures that represent Chau and their partner tending to a towering houseplant, while Moro the cat looks on. Hand-drawn hatch marks add a cozy fabric-like texture to the design.

“I think a sense of community organizing and being with people who are like-minded and want to build beautiful things and a beautiful life together has been really important,” Chau said. “I wanted to embrace togetherness and celebrate that.”

Tumbler

While spending a couple of weeks working on a mural in a nearby Washington town, Chau brought their two cats with them. The collection’s 16-ounce stainless steel tumbler features a figure in overalls that represents the artist going out on a new adventure, with Moro along for the ride.

“I was thinking about just embracing my own experience and my everyday life,” Chau said. “This is me while I’m working as a freelance artist and wanting to make sure that my cat can come with me.”

Mug

Moro is the star of the collection’s 14-ounce ceramic mug, wearing an expression of faux ferocity (or perhaps “fur-ocity”?), with a petal hood that looks like a lion’s mane.  

“I want people to feel that happiness and excitement from the really small joys in life,” Chau said. “My life has changed so much because of the pandemic, and so being able to find joy with yourself and being at home and with your cat is something that has been really sweet and nurturing for me.” 

Building a culture of inclusion

All year long, we are proud to celebrate the diverse experiences our partners bring to Starbucks.  Starbucks is guided by our Mission and Values with a belief that real inclusion is not only defined by metrics – it requires intent. We’re on a journey to create an environment where everyone is welcome and feels a sense of belonging. Our culture has been built over more than 50 years by the efforts of partners dedicated to making Starbucks a different kind of company. Through their commitment to their communities and one another, we have demonstrated anything is possible when we nurture the limitless possibilities of human connection. We continue to build upon this foundation and continue to evolve to make Starbucks a truly diverse, inclusive, equitable and accessible company.   

This month, Starbucks, together with our Pan-Asian Partner Network and India Partner Network we celebrate Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month.  Centered on the theme, “The Power of Belonging and Sharing Our Cultural Values.” AANHPI Heritage Month recognizes the diverse lived experiences and vital contributions of our Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. 

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Starbucks Milano Duetto – an innovative ode to coffee, arts and culture