This article was featured in our newsletter, Alts & Ends. Click here to subscribe for free and receive the best collectible market insights straight to your inbox on a weekly basis!
Hype attracts resellers to limited goods like Bills fans to folding tables. And while Bills mafia didn't need any help keeping their drinks cold this weekend, the latest hyped goods to take the internet by storm are a sharp pivot from the usual fodder like sneakers, apparel, and trading cards; the money-making vessel of the moment is - believe it or not - a drinking vessel.
Specifically, the Stanley Quencher.
A sensation of social media's creation among young women, the Quencher is the emphatic answer to the question: "how can we make a cup so obnoxiously large that it becomes a burden to all who come into contact with it?" Its gargantuan stature is the subject of parody on TikTok, executed by taking a water cooler jug and sticking a PVC pipe into it. But the tumbler is a phenomenon nonetheless, and perhaps rightfully so: a Stanley survived a blazing inferno that engulfed an entire car, dutifully preserving the ice inside.
Where popularity goes, collaborations and limited drops follow. Where collaborations and limited drops go, resellers and flipping follow.
That's how a Stanley collaboration with Starbucks, sold exclusively in Target, became one of the surprise stars of StockX. There's nothing inherently special about the glossy pink tumbler, but that's never stopped a hyped product from selling for multiples of retail price in the past. The "special" Quencher sold at Target for $50, launching to a frenzy on January 3rd. Instantly, aftermarket prices crossed $150, much to the incredulity of both those familiar and unfamiliar with the wild world of resale. And as the legend of the Starbucks Stanley has grown, so too have the asking prices. Since the 3rd, prices have steadily climbed past $250, more than five times the retail price.
That's right. Even if you struck out at retail, you could have bought a Quencher on the secondary market on release day, sold today, and still made a handsome $30-50 profit. On a mug.
The rising price chart is not the work of Stanley enthusiasts alone. Because once they smell hype, the hypebeasts start hypebeasting, stocking coveted products in hopes of a future flip. The first Stanley x Starbucks collaboration, a Holiday 2023 tumbler, launched in early November, quickly ascending to over $200 and sustaining demand there over the two and a half months since. But it's not just the collaborations. The launch of those special releases and their associated clamor, along with the holiday shopping season, has caused a rapid spread of the Stanley fever. A friendly guideline: you will need to social distance if you own a Stanley, mostly because of its sheer size and the danger of poking a friend's eye out with the prominent straw.
But the point is, a few months ago, you could walk into Whole Foods and find Stanleys on shelves. You could head to Amazon and order one via Prime at retail price to arrive at your doorstep a day later. For the moment, those days are over.
There are 46 Stanley Quenchers currently available for sale on StockX - most of them general release colorways. Can't believe we just used the terms "general release" and "colorway" in association with a cup.
You know how many are selling for more than their retail price? All of them.
The profits are slim for most of the run-of-the-mill colors. But still, "Sour Cream" and "Navy Voyage" tumblers parachuted onto StockX right after the Starbucks collab established a beachhead, and they immediately started selling for $70-100. Surely, Stanley - a for-profit organization - will adjust production to better cater to rabid demand. Those general release colors will not continue to sell at elevated prices, particularly given the incremental costs from fees and shipping. But just as surely, we have not seen the end of hyped and limited tumbler releases.
"Oh, you bought those Jordans?"
takes long sip from Travis Scott Stanley Quencher, glancing in disgusted judgment at the sneakers
"That's kind of 2021, don't you think?"
Welcome to 2024, where the drinks stay cold, the hype stays hot, and the prices stay high.
Enjoyed this article? Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter to receive more like it in your inbox weekly!
Disclaimer: You understand that by reading Altan Insights, you are not receiving financial advice. No content published here constitutes a recommendation that any particular security, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. You further understand that the author(s) are not advising you personally concerning the nature, potential, value or suitability of any particular security, transaction, or investment strategy. You alone are solely responsible for determining whether an investment, security or strategy, or any other product or service, is appropriate or suitable for you based on your investment objectives and personal financial situation. Please speak with a financial advisor to understand if the risks inherent in trading are appropriate for you. Trade at your own risk.