New “Signing Starbucks” opens in Guangzhou, China

A new signing Starbucks has recently opened. The first one was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 2nd one was in Washington, DC. The 3rd one is where? Guangzhou, China.

[Clip of Deaf Chinese staffers at the Guangzhou “Signing Starbucks” store]

Inside the store, there are designs on Starbucks postcards, tote bags, and notebooks. The designs were made by a Deaf artist, Jiayi Zhou is a graphic designer who works at Shanghai East International Medical Center in Shanghai. However, the wall artwork that is inside the coffeeshop was done by a hearing person. Zhou, who checked with the signing Starbucks manager and Yan Liu, who is from China, but lives in USA who checked with the Guangzhou Association of the Deaf, both confirmed that it was done by a hearing artist.

The Daily Moth reached out to Zhou to share her story about how she was able to get her artwork on the postcards, tote bags, and notebooks.

Jiayi Zhou: Hello, my name is Jiayi Zhou. I feel very honored to show my artwork in the first Signing Starbucks store in China. Last month Starbucks in Guangzhou (this is the sign) wanted to start the first signing store in China. They looked for Deaf people’s artwork. One person reached out to me and I sent my resume and my art portfolio. After a while, I was selected. They were very interested in my work, which have Deaf culture and sign language. We brainstormed on ideas and decided on three things: the signs for “brave,” “equality,” and “integration.” I eventually finished the project and submitted it. On Sunday, May 19, it was their opening ceremony. Many people attended and it was very positive. It is very exciting because it shows society that Deaf people can do everything except hear. It shows the beauty of sign language and our unique Deaf culture. If you ever visit China, please go and support the deaf Starbucks.

Zhou mentioned that this selection process happened just a month ago. Zhou gave birth to twins who are now 8 months so it was a challenge for her to juggle the time frame with work, babies, and designing the artwork. She is thrilled that her work was selected.

Zhou also mentioned that she feels like this is a new hope for the Deaf community in China. She did her studies in the USA and then returned to China. Zhou appreciated the accessibility for deaf people here in USA because the accessibility for deaf people in China is a struggle. So, when this signing Starbucks store opened, Zhou felt inspired that change is possible in China.

Thank you Zhou for sharing your story. Now, are you curious to see what China’s sign for Starbucks?

Zhou: I want to teach you how to sign “Starbucks” in Chinese Sign Language. (Signs “Starbucks” in CSL). Cheers!

Cool! So make sure when you’re in Guangzhou, you stop by their signing Starbucks!

Now, we need more signing Starbucks. Where do you think the next location should be?