The Green Apron

Starbucks has what they call the “Green Apron Principles”. Five principles that we are to live by as Starbucks partners– at least at work anyhow.

We are to be:

  1. Welcoming
  2. Genuine
  3. Knowledgeable
  4. Considerate
  5. Involved

To reward partners who exhibit these qualities, either to one another or to a customer, partners give each other Green Apron Cards. There are five Green Apron Cards, one for each principle, and each has a nifty graphic on the front with the name of the principle, and on the back there are lines for the giving partner to write a brief note to the receiving partner expressing their appreciation of that partner’s actions.

When my store opened, two years ago, someone made a display for the partner’s Green Apron Cards. They basically took one of our green aprons, hung it on the wall with tacks and Velcro, hot glued clear plastic pouches to it [one for each partner] and put the partner’s name on their pouch. It looks like they started out using some clear labels for the partner’s names and printed them in green with a nice font from an inkjet printer. However, as time passed, I suppose the labels got lost or something so they just started writing the partner’s names on the pouches with whatever. And then, when new partners arrived they would just scribble out or write over partner’s names that had left. Plus, the hot glue wasn’t holding the pouches on very well any more, some had already let go… SO, the store manager said to me one day last week, “You look like a creative person. Can you come up with a better display?” he he he he he. She just didn’t know who she was talking to, did she?!?

this is the old display 😦 very sad

So, I thought and I thought and I thought. I even lay awake at night and thought… And this is what I came up with: First, I wanted to use the green apron idea, after all, it’s all about the Green Apron Principles, so that seemed appropriate. And the pouch idea [or some variation of it] seemed like a good idea. But I wanted to make it TOTALLY maintainable. I wanted it to be as easily maintained two years from now as today. I immediately thought of covering the entire apron with a heavy, clear Vinyl which I was able to find at Joann’s for just $7.99 a yard, and a yard was plenty. I could sew this onto the apron with my mother’s industrial sewing machine. Then I thought about the pouches… My first thought was to cut the bottom out of a tall cup, fold the cup in half, cut the cup on the side folds, sew pockets into the Vinyl that would hold this half of the cup and write the partner’s name on the half of a cup like we would a customer’s name on their beverage cup. The half of the cup would then be inserted into the Vinyl pocket and the partner’s Green Apron Cards would fit in the pocket behind the half of the cup with their name on it. I liked this idea except that it would be difficult to maintain– every time a new partner was hired, someone would have to go through that whole cup cutting process and more than likely no two would ever look the same. Remember, I’m looking for TOTAL maintainability here! SO, here’s the ingenious idea I came up with: THE STATUS SYMBOL brown sleeve!!! What says, “Starbucks” more than the brown sleeve! We already went through that whole thing of it being this GREAT BIG status symbol [previous post]. And it’s already folded– no cutting. I could still use the same black Sharpie we use to write customer’s names on their cups to write partner’s names on the sleeve. And that’s what I did! It was brilliant. It worked perfectly! And when I put it up on the wall people asked, “Where did you buy that?” he he he he

this is the new display 🙂 very nice

Total maintainability! That’s what I was after and that’s what I think I archived, assuming that two years from now we’ll still be using the brown sleeve and black Sharpie. I think it’s a pretty safe bet that we will. The only thing I would have done differently, if I had it to do over again, is that I would have immediately removed the hash marks I used to lay out the design. I used a green Sharpie and what I didn’t realize is that although it would come off immediately after I put it on, the longer Sharpie stays on Vinyl, the more permanent it becomes 😦 I also used green Sharpie to out line where the seems needed to be sewn for the sleeve pockets but that doesn’t really matter because I sewed over that with green thread [actually, my mother sewed over that with green thread] so that green Sharpie doesn’t really show. However, I wouldn’t do the hash mark thing again anyway because… JUST IN CASE… just in case any other store wants one of these I MADE A PATTERN! So, I don’t have to lay all this out again– it was pretty technical and precise and I didn’t want to go through that again. So glad I had the foresight to make a pattern!

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2 Responses to “The Green Apron”


  1. 1 Kaitlin December 2, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Dude, that’s an awesome idea. My manager made me make a green apron card board, and, honestly, I’m not crafty, and it really sucks. Any chance I could get your pattern and instructions? I would totally give you credit! My store is in MA, where are you?

  2. 2 Cyndi October 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Hello, it’s a few years later from this post, saw this image as I was looking for ideas, I am locationed in Chicago, IL!! My store would love to have this done instead of our cardboard fake aPron!! Could u email me the instruction, please!


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