We can never have enough of certain items. Clothes, books, sneakers; you know the deal. One particular item comes to mind that you might not immediately have thought of: mugs.
What’s so great about a cup that regularly holds your coffee or tea? I always receive them as gifts, but none had ever really stood out until my recent discovery: Mugnacious.
The company, which launched in August 2015, brings comical wittiness to a cupboard near you. After all, there are 100 million coffee drinkers in the world (and that’s just per day!).
While you might turn your head away (and yes, that’s exactly what I almost did), don’t! These aren’t your average cup-of-joe holders. They can actually can show off your personality, and possibly get a chuckle out of you or a friend.
Neil is a fine artist who you can find on the streets of Soho, NY selling his whimsical-looking art out of a gigantic cart he hand built (see his mobile art gallery collection here). His work is also featured in the permanent collection in the Smithsonian Art Museum. For as long as he can remember, Neil has been a collector of the things he observes and overhears around town, scribbling down phrases and pieces of conversations in his sketchbook.
“I’m a bit of an eavesdropper,” said Powell. “All of the phrases on our mugs are inspired by real people going about their day, whether I overheard them in a bar, on the subway or at the gym.”
Neil’s good friend Sloane, a publicist by day at Powell Communications where she is president, encouraged him to turn this collection of witticisms into a brand that more people could enjoy — a concept where art could meet commerce and be both accessible and affordable. There and then they decided to partner up. But why mugs?
“Because a mug is something you hold in your hand or place on your desk, it becomes an extension of who you are, in that moment,” said Humphrey. “We thought we could make each mug a character itself that could tell a mini, biographical story about its owner in a more unexpected way than on a t-shirt.”
After a late-night brainstorm and beer session, the two pored through Neil’s sketchbooks and honed in on 20 phrases they believed were totally ownable and easily relatable. To stay true to Neil’s art and aesthetic, the font they chose is his actual handwriting. There’s a mug for everyone, whether it’s you, your family or a friend:
- You Should See My Bitch Face
- I’m Glad We Had This Chat
- Karma Owes Me One
- It’s A Pretty Weird Time For Me
- My Viral Meme Is Blowing Up
To get the brand out to the world, the two started posting to the Mugnacious Instagram account to get a reaction from friends and, they hoped, attract fans. “We think we’re funny. The question now is, does anyone else?” said Humphrey. We all chuckled a bit.
The Mugnacious Instagram feed hosts relevant, comical memes designed to spread organically on social media. Some of their images show celebrities like the Pope and Drake with the signature mugs in their hands. They’ve also faked in-situ shots of billboards and protest signs to add extra allure to the brand.
“People are catching on and it’s motivating us to keep this project going, to keep the snark and surprise alive,” said Powell.
“We love watching what people respond to and how they share things. We’re seeing lots of women tagging their friends and boyfriends – they are the best sharers,” said Humphrey.
With the holidays rolling around, the team will be running full-steam ahead. Neil continues to fill his notebooks full with drawings, cartoons and catchphrases, while Sloane presses forward connecting them with influencers and retailers. With recent exposure in Glamour and on The Skimm, Bustle and Elite Daily websites, Mugnacious will be on everyone’s radar just in time for the holidays.