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Internship duration
3.5 months
Internship Responsibilities (separate from content below)
UX Research
Form ideation
Concept development
Presenting concepts to cross functional teams
At the end of my internship at Starbucks, I presented a challenge to the Global Design Team. 

Sustainability was talked about regularly

We were supposed to create new products that used sustainable material, but often we couldn't find something that was both sustainable and had the material properties we needed (such a being dishwasher safe + clear).

The Problem

I admire the fact that Starbucks is moving in a sustainable direction, but was frustrated with how hard it was to find suitable material. The industry is new, and finding materials for Starbucks’s scale is even more difficult. Because of this fact, most of the materials Starbucks and other companies of this scale use are not sustainable. 
 
This needs to change.  

Throughout our search for materials,
I was inspired by this book.

Why Materials Matter is an exploration into sustainable materials and why they matter. There were two things about this book that made me think:
 
1) Many of the materials were made from things that people think are unsanitary or repulsive. 
2) Most, if not all, of the materials were produced from small independent artists or studios. 
Click each picture to read more about these materials 

My challenge to Starbucks

Starbucks is continually building their brand with unique, beautiful art installations from local artists in the area.
 
They already have an art program that champions small visual artists by commissioning them to create unique pieces for their stores. Why not advance this with material artists?  
Instead of waiting for a sustainable material market to get bigger, Starbucks is the driving force of this movement by championing small studios/artists specializing in this field.

Purpose

Starbucks makes a pledge to only use sustainable materials in interior design elements/smallwares

Product

Starbucks selects materials from smaller artists/studios, supports their research, and connects them to large scale manufacturers 

Method

Large scale manufacturers work with artists/studios vetted by Starbucks to create interior design elements/ smallwares with the new sustainable material 

Telling customers that a material is 100% recyclable is no longer enough, nor is it a compelling story. 

Hover over these next photos to see what the future of Starbucks stores could look like

Hover to see the future! 
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A better story would be that Starbucks has turned slaughterhouse blood from their meat suppliers into countertops. 
Hover to see the future! 
Or that all the fabric in the store (including the classic green aprons) are from bacterial pigments, which saves 500 times more water than classically dyed fabric.
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Hover to see the future! 
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Or that Starbucks stops single use waste with the help of cup subscription programs like Cupclub.
Hover to see the future! 
Or that everything shipped to the stores is protected with custom molded mushrooms
instead of traditional packaging.
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It's not just materials, it's processes

• How can Starbucks harness the waste from their own products into useable material? 
• How can Starbucks hone craft through interconnected products and materials?
• How can Starbucks use its scale to influence the dialogue in corporate culture about sustainable design?
If Starbucks makes this happen, they'll need a Cybertruck moment. In other words, they need to cross the boundary of what people have done with sustainable materials, into what people could do with sustainable materials, but no one has.  
 
Starbucks has the great opportunity of touching millions of people through in-store experiences, and challenging how they view sustainability.  
 

A Cybertruck moment

In addition to this challenge, I also printed a poster of ideas I think Starbucks should adopt in the future, which is now hanging in the Global Design Studio.

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