When coffee is your lifestyle, it is all consuming. It’s on your shirts, your hats, your socks, it’s stitched to your backpacks, pinned on your jackets, and stickered to just about every semi-flat surface around you. But the full story of the coffee merch life cannot be told without the original: the mug. Simple, straightforward, coffee merch for coffee purposes, the mug is as much a tool of utility as it is a statement maker.

That’s why for the second installment of the Coffee Merch series, we’re going a little old school and taking a look at some of our favorite logo mugs out there right now, those of Everybody’s Busy in Chicago, Illinois. The brainchild of Everybody’s Busy owner Melissa Stinson (featured here on Sprudge), whose easily recognizable and very Helvetica brand identity serves as the design’s starting point. But Stinson, herself a mug collector, keeps it fresh with a new design every month or so as part of her Mugshot Series.

To learn more, we spoke digitally with Stinson about the Everybody’s Busy Mugshot Series, her influences, and what’s coming next for the brand.

Do you have any new merch you want featured in the Coffee Merch series? Let us know!

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

processed with vsco with au5 preset
Melissa Stinson

What was the inspiration for this mug? 

I came up with the idea while living and working in New York City… the capital of busy. In particular, I was inspired by the subway system and the people that use it. Everyone’s is such a rush, packing each car to the brim, with very little personal space to be had. My logo, which features prominently on the mug, is at once crowded, not evenly spaced, yet focused and forward-thinking.

Can you tell us a little bit about the design?

This was my first design. Of course, I used Helvetica, one of my favorite fonts. The logo is sometimes on both sides, but often on just one. In those instances, the other side displays a notable rap lyric. I’m pretty proud of the “Who Shot Ya” (a cute take on espresso shots) and “Don’t Get High on Your Own Supply,” both an ode to the late, great Biggie Smalls.

advert but first coffee cookbook now available


These are all part of your Mugshot Series. Can you tell us a little more about that?

The Mugshot idea was pretty simple. I collect mugs, so when I started Everybody’s Busy it only made sense to create my own. I began featuring the novelties with my first cup of drip each day. As the pop-up offerings became more frequent and the brand began to grow, I thought to include my patrons in the experience, too. It’s a fun and kitschy idea that seems to have caught on.

What are some other brands—coffee or otherwise—that inspire you?

I am inspired/influenced by art, music, and street culture. Some influential brands, in particular, include: JJJJound (Montreal), No Coffee (Japan), Coffee Supreme (New Zealand), Maru Coffee (Los Angeles), DNG Coffee (Vietnam), Street Coffee Crew (Thailand), Mahlkönig, Yo! MTV Raps, Wildstyle, and Comme Des Garçons.

Can you give us a few details about the mug?

The usual white porcelain style mug (11 ounce), nothing super fancy. Sometimes the size changes (4 ounce for espresso), but it depends on what I find when I’m out looking for mugs. I also must consider what I’m putting on them. Interestingly, I treat them like T-shirts. I like to change up the designs every other month or so, without repeating the same design.

dghys sweatshirt

What’s your favorite coffee garment in your closet right now?

I feel different most days, so I don’t have a favorite garment. I wear a lot of sneakers and try not to repeat the same shoe. You should look good every time you leave home. My favorite piece of coffee gear, however, is a crewneck sweatshirt I designed. On the front pocket is the Everybody’s Busy logo, the back bears Biggie’s infamous phrase, “Don’t Get High on Your Own Supply.” Sweatshirts are comfortable, practical, not as conspicuous as hoodies, and staples within the world of classic hip-hop. Finessed with my business’ branding, if I had to pick a favorite from my closet, this piece would be it.

What’s next for Everybody’s Busy?

These days, I’m day to day. It’s hard to plan things since the world has changed and continues to change. Nevertheless, I expect that my business will grow steadily so I put in the mental and logistical energy to ensure that it does. I must that say that I’m learning to pivot more. I’m excited about a few co-branding collaborations that are in the developmental stages (Onyx Coffee Lab out now; Deadstock Coffee).

Where can the mug be purchased and for how much?

I’m working on my e-commerce now, but until then, patrons can purchase Everybody’s Busy merchandise in-store only. I truly want folks to fully experience the Everybody’s Busy vibe.

Thank you!

Do you have any new merch you want featured in the Coffee Merch series? Let us know!

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

All photos courtesy of Everybody’s Busy, used with permission