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The Retired Investor: Stanley Cup Joins Long List of Fads
By Bill Schmick, iBerkshires Staff
04:28PM / Thursday, January 18, 2024

Bell bottoms, Cabbage Patch dolls, pet rocks, Disney popcorn buckets — the list goes on. This year it is the Stanley Cup Quencher in a rainbow of colors. Fads are part of our society. They are different than trends or cults and most have a limited life.
There are fads everywhere you look. Fashion, diets, music, clothes, and especially toys. Who remembers the Power Rangers? They seem to come out of nowhere, blaze a path of widespread adaption by multitudes of people, and then crash into sudden decline seemingly overnight.
Take the Stanley Cup for example. I had no idea that the thermos company of my youth had transformed its reliable "hammer tone" green-bodied container of my working days into a plethora of sippy cups that are now the rage in America.
I credit a local story by Meg Britton-Mehlisch in the Berkshire Eagle this past weekend, that revealed how this venerable 110-year product was not only invented by William Stanley Jr. but was manufactured in Great Barrington just a stone's throw from where I sit. It is also true that when the inventor announced his invention back then, he did so through that very same newspaper in 1915!
It was the first vacuum-insulated steel bottle and it found its way into the hands of mainly working men for the next century.
But I digress. Fads, as I have discovered, can be driven by several factors. Social influence, marketing, novelty, word of mouth, and in this age of TikTok, the internet. In the case of the Stanley Cup, it seems the product took off after it was profiled in the New York Times. From there, social media influencers on a site called #WaterTok, that focuses on hydration, went bonkers over the cup. After all, who wouldn't want another plastic water cup that not only fits in your car's cup holder but features a straw and a handle in 26 glorious colors?
By January 2024, videos of what is now called an "adult sippy cup" have been viewed over 201.4 million times on TikTok. Stanley fans, of which many appear to be women, have been called a sisterhood. Marketers and advertising firms jumped on the bandwagon pitching the product to women as not only a sustainable product, but one that can be part of a woman's day-to-day accessories, thus the number of colors offered. As such, it is being promoted as a lifestyle essential on many social media sites.
"Limited" is a keyword that marketers use time and time again when promoting fads. Not only does it convey a feeling of exclusivity and urgency but usually triggers that fear of missing out on a product. It is what causes fistfights among consumers. 
The Stanley Quencher certainly has had its share of that kind of behavior.    
And what fad would not be complete without a growing interest in collecting these $45 reusable water bottles? The Winter Pink Starbucks Collaboration cup is a hot item. Collectors are selling some hard-to-get models like that one for $400 on the resell market. Others command two and three times the purchase price, which is nothing new in the world of crazes. The trick is not to be caught with inventory when the worm turns and the fad fades.
Fads can be fun and sometimes generate a sense of community. They can also trigger new ideas and innovations at times. But they can also lead to overconsumption and waste. The idea behind reusable water bottles 15 years ago was to cut down on all those plastic water bottles we were dumping in the trash. Today, there are hundreds of different models and colors of water bottles sold by dozens of companies for a product that was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime sustainable purchase.
I do wish the Stanley company well in Fad Land. It just so happens that I have a black and silver, two-stage lid, one quart, Stanley thermos in mint condition for sale. Do I hear $100, $150, or maybe trade for the Winter Pink Starbucks cup? 

Bill Schmick is the founding partner of Onota Partners, Inc., in the Berkshires. His forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of Onota Partners Inc. (OPI). None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-413-347-2401 or email him at

Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of OPI, Inc. or a solicitation to become a client of OPI. The reader should not assume that any strategies or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold, or held by OPI. Investments in securities are not insured, protected, or guaranteed and may result in loss of income and/or principal. This communication may include opinions and forward-looking statements, and we can give no assurance that such beliefs and expectations will prove to be correct. Investments in securities are not insured, protected, or guaranteed and may result in loss of income and/or principal. This communication may include opinions and forward-looking statements, and we can give no assurance that such beliefs and expectations will prove to be correct.


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