Khalani Dixon, 13, and her mom, Chevonne, display their collection...

Khalani Dixon, 13, and her mom, Chevonne, display their collection of Stanley mugs in the kitchen of their Freeport home, Jan. 25. Credit: Jeff Bachner

Self-described “pink ladies,” eighth-grader Khalani and mom Chevonne Dixon go gaga shopping for personalized pink bows, charms and tiny pom poms — style statements for their six Stanley travel cups.

“I don’t think it’s crazy,” says Khalani, 13, of Freeport. “There are so many things you can do to your water bottle to make it even cuter.”

Dixon, 39, feels she can relax a bit, knowing her daughter’s love of Stanley cups has improved her health: “I don’t have to be on top of her every minute with ‘How much water did you drink today?’ ”

Stanley’s insulated tumblers have been stuck on popular — some say “obsession” — ever since the Seattle-based company released its Quencher model in scores of colors almost four years ago. Fans line up for these 30- and 40-ounce cups and have been running, fighting and hunting for them, paying $35 and up at stores. They’re loving these stainless steel cups for their looks, easy-carry handle and ability to keep liquids hot or cold for two days. Last month, Target’s limited edition cosmo pink was pretty much gulped up within minutes of its release. Some quickly reappeared online for resale — priced more than $200 above the original $45.

“It’s become some sort of status symbol that makes you cool,” notes Courtney Spritzer, chief executive officer and co-founder of Socialfly, a women-led digital marketing agency based in Manhattan and Miami. “People are really proud to own one of these and be part of the Stanley community.”

The hype generates mock fests. Lining up on Black Friday for a 72-inch television that costs $100 at Walmart? Understandable. Waiting for Target to open to buy a hot pink cup that’s not even on sale? The new norm. 

Social media has turned Quenchers into the stars of beverage ware, especially among Gen Z and millennials. One viral video shows a man tackled by Stanley fans in line after he tried to run off with a box of tumblers. On Facebook pages like “Stanley Tumbler Obsession,” the thirst for photos of dressed-up cups seems unquenchable. In a Tik Tok video with almost 100 million views, a woman retrieves her Stanley from a burnt-out car in November and the chinking noises coming from the tumbler proved her drink was still iced. Dressed-up and personalized Quenchers permeate the web.

Tara Johnson and her daughter Keeva, 10, with their Stanley...

Tara Johnson and her daughter Keeva, 10, with their Stanley cups. Credit: Jeff Bachner

The constant Stanley Tik Tok feed made Jaylah Fludd, 13, hungry for one last year so she posted repeatedly of wanting a Quencher.

“I think it was because of the colors and how I heard so many stories about it,” says the Suffolk seventh grader. “Everybody was starting to have one. It always had good reviews.”

Her aunt bought her one for Christmas, but Jaylah’s own quest ended last month when she scored a creamy white Quencher that had been out of stock everywhere she looked, until she went to the Stanley app and got one of the last three.

Now she protects her Stanley cup. At school, she says it's always in her hand. “If it’s not in my hand, it’s in one of my friends’ hands because they’re holding it for me,” Jaylah says.

Jaylah Fludd, 13, of Brookhaven town, with her two Stanley...

Jaylah Fludd, 13, of Brookhaven town, with her two Stanley cups. Credit: Steve Pfost

The Stanley insulated container is not new. For decades, the company was known for its classic, bullet-shaped thermos, with a metal top doubling as a cup. Its  outdoorsy image was reinforced by dark olive and other colors geared toward hunters, campers and construction guys.

It’s become some sort of status symbol that makes you cool.

-Courtney Spritzer, chief executive officer and co-founder of Socialfly

Five years ago, the brand was in a slump, according to reports, but when The Buy Guide, an online shopping curator, started marketing the Quencher to women, the tumbler became Stanley’s hottest seller. As the cup took on fashionable colors like lilac and rose quartz, Stanley touted a 751% hike year-to-date sales at one point in 2022 and a wait list of more than 150,000. The brand has even stayed popular through customer qualms early this year regarding a pellet found at the base of the cup that contains "some lead," according to the company. "Rest assured that no lead is present on the surface of any Stanley product that comes into contact with the consumer nor the contents of the product," a Stanley statement reads. 

Other insulated containers, such as Yeti and Hydro Flask, have trended in the past but nothing like Stanley.

“People are evolving beyond just the functionality,” says Joe Derochowski, a vice president and home industry adviser at Circana, a market information company. “There is also a design element. There is something that is a little bit of a statement we’re making about ourselves.”

Calls for Quenchers come in at least every other day to Lifestyles Sports in Wantagh, but manager Andrew Kruter has been all out since selling at least 50 of them during the holidays. While the store has the classic thermos available, Quencher cups are still on back-order.

“We’ve been carrying Stanley cups for seven, eight years,” Kruter says, “but this one flew off the shelves.”

When Keeva Johnson, 10, says she wants to add a couple more Stanley cups to her light purple and dark blue ones, her mother Tara Johnson, 51, teases, “You don’t want a different one for each day of the week?”

Sometimes in the mornings, Johnson puts chicken nuggets into a small Stanley thermos for her daughter’s school lunch and is gratified to hear it’s still warm hours later.

While Johnson won’t be standing in long lines or spending more than $100 on a limited edition cup any time soon, Stanley envy is a real thing when she sees fellow admirers with an entire wall of tumblers.

“One of the reasons I don’t buy more is I keep thinking ‘How am I going to fit this in my cabinet?’ ” Johnson says. “They don’t fit in standard cabinets.”

Andrea Buckley, 49, of West Islip, had been insulated from the Quencher fever until someone posted a Stanley with the face of Stanley, the landlord in the “Three’s Company,” a 1970s sitcom.

That’s when she wrote on her Facebook page, “I need this.”

“They should make those,” the “Three’s Company” devotee says with laughter. “I bet you it would fly off the shelves. You want to target different generations.”

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months