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Bartell’s gets last laugh on Capitol Hill/First Hill ‘ugly’ hyperlocal coffee mugs

We had some fun Tuesday at the expense of a line of souvenir style coffee mugs for sale at Bartell’s celebrating the various neighborhoods of Seattle from, um, Bellevue to the University District thanks to a tweet from @letterboxed:

Astonishingly ugly Seattle neighborhood mugs at Bartell Drugs. Also, pro tip, First Hill & Capitol Hill are different hills. You’re welcome

We called them “hyperlocal ugly.” Turns out, @bartelldrugs was watching and said demand has been “overwhelming” for the mugs. Then general merchandise buyer @howiecohen chimed in:

The mugs were the fastest selling item I’ve had in years-guess you’re not the demo. I could’ve sold 4x what I ordered

Clearly we don’t know shit about merchandising — we’ve sold about 10 of these over the years. Bartell’s we raise a mug to you (but not one with those weird curved lips — don’t like those).

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Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor
10 years ago
hildeborg
hildeborg
10 years ago

Now I want them all.

jseattle
jseattle
10 years ago

I fail at capitalism :(

ck
ck
10 years ago

I pray a few end up at ValVill.

Lonnie
Lonnie
10 years ago

It’s possible for them to sell well AND be hyperlocal ugly. Sometimes ugly is its own selling point.

@howiecohen
@howiecohen
10 years ago

This whole thread gave me a lot of laughs yesterday and today. Makes it fun to tweet while trying to do my job as a buyer too. The serious truth-these were so popular they sold out in most stores in days, a couple of weeks at best. We have more coming in April for the very large amount of customers that were disappointed how quickly they ran out in most stores. I just found a handful of Bellevue mugs to ship to a customer in California that saw them when visiting their old home up here. New neighborhoods are coming this Christmas too. Magnolia, Fremont and Rainier Valley, as well as Snohomish, Redmond and Tacoma. We expand out to cities rather than just neighborhoods in the outlying suburbs to cover a little more customer base than we can with the dense population base of Seattle neighborhoods. And, for the record, I still don’t think they’re ugly.

escapeartist
escapeartist
10 years ago

Demand has probably been overwhelming because locals appreciate the kitchy-ness of ugly design. We are the thrift store style generation after all. Personally I want the Pill Hill one. Is the dog park in Belltown still called Crack Park? I’d love one of those too!!

cheesecake
cheesecake
10 years ago

My mom got me one of these for Christmas! It is ugly, but in a “if I found this at Value Village I would think it’s really cool” kind of way.

chimsquared
chimsquared
10 years ago

Lemme know when you have em!!

Volunteer Park
Volunteer Park
10 years ago

Pill Hill is the nickname.

boikej
boikej
10 years ago

you win at funny self-deprecation though!

@howiecohen
@howiecohen
10 years ago

No, there was only the Capitol Hill mug and we put a little “Pill Hill” logo on one side just to add to the nearby neighborhoods referenced to expand the potential customer appeal. Maybe at some point in the future we could give Pill Hill their own mug. I guess I’m already starting my list of potential 2012 neighborhoods. We might kick that list of mugs over to an online vote to pick out the the ones we do from a list of potential neighborhoods.

letterboxed
letterboxed
10 years ago

If people are still looking, I took the photo at the Lake City store on Tuesday :)

LizWas
LizWas
10 years ago

Agreed. If nothing else I hope this little post sells you some t-shirts!

LizWas
LizWas
10 years ago

CD is already on the waiting list for 2012, right Howie???

@howiecohen
@howiecohen
10 years ago

Yes, CD definitely on the list for 2012. Since we have more time for 2012 I plan on doing what I wanted to do for 2011, which is to put a bunch of neighborhoods out there, and have an online vote to choose which ones we do (maybe have 12 choices and take the top 6 from online voting.

just to tease though, I had what I believe was a flash of genius for an extremely kitchy, Archie McPhee worthy, unique item. The manufacturer is all for it. Next step is to talk pricing and work with the owner of the…um…image we want to use. Heh. Was that mysterious enough? It is going to be so great.

Todd T.
9 years ago

Please, an Edmonds version!

heidi
8 years ago

Love them! I have a couple, I want them all and the matching plates.