How Stanley 10x’d their revenue thanks to the 40-ounce cup you see everywhere

When I open my toolbox, I still notice the Stanley logo on some of the screwdrivers. Growing up, the word Stanley represented not only tools, but those hammertone green products like the indestructible thermos. Remember the one? But in 2020 things would change drastically for the company all thanks to the 40-ounce cup you see everywhere in stores and online.

Stanley has been around forever, 110 years to be exact. And they were clipping along just fine at $70 million/year in revenue. They eventually slowed in selling the thermos, but something strange happened in 2020. The pandemic was here, and Stanley noticed some traction with it’s product the Quencher, a 40-ounce insulated cup, which retails for between $45 and $55. It sported a handle for ease of transportation, as well as a tapered design that allowed it to slide into a car’s cup holder. It didn’t get much attention. But it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Enter the new Stanley president Terence Reilly. He helped spend his previous 7 years helping Crocs become enormously successful. He was tasked with helping give Stanley a push. So what did he do? He listened.

40-ounce cup
The success of the Quencher has helped Stanley grow its annual revenue from $70 million to more than $750 million in four years. (via CNBC)

He asked the staff what they were working on. One employee mentioned a group of women in Utah who ran a commerce blog called The Buy Guide.  My wife told me about the Buy Guide years ago. It’s a site that reviews products and has a rabid influencer following. Buy Guide co-founder Ashlee LeSueur bought a Quencher in 2017 and loved it immediately. She gifted it to all her friends. She bought it at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Ah, memories.

In 2019, she tried to tell leaders at Stanley to keep making them, but the sales numbers were not impressive. It looked like the Quencher was on its way out. Reilly gave her an option to buy a wholesale order of 5,000 units. LeSueur said it was a terrifying move, but she came up with the money. Then, the power of influence hit hard.

The Buy Guide sold out of them within days. Days!

From that point forward the Buy Guide, a once simple product review site,  became a partner with a 110-year-old historic brand. And from 2020 to 2023, Stanley’s revenue went from about $70M to $750M. 10x all thanks to the little Quencher that could.

It wouldn’t have happened without the Reilly’s curiosity, LeSueur’s entrepreneurial spirit (and guts) and the power of social media.

I love this story and I admit, we have way too many Stanley Cups laying around the house. But they’re cold and they’re indestructible…just like Stanley likes to make ’em.

Subscribe to receive inspiration, news, and ideas in your inbox.

About the author

Josh Benson

Add comment

Josh Benson


Let’s Connect!