Student Entrepreneurs Blend Art and Business to Create New Apparel Line

Jesus Chaparro '13.  Photos by Devika Doowa.

Jesus Chaparro ’15. Photos by Devika Doowa.


He’s an art and economics double major and the executive secretary for Phi Delta Theta, but somehow he still found time to start his own business. Sophomore Jesus Chaparro reminds us just how creative and driven Whitties can be with his new Whitman-based business: Cryptid Apparel.

Officially started last October, Cryptid was inspired by a love of art, skateboarding style and the Whitman Entrepreneurs Club. Founded by Chaparro and girlfriend sophomore Audrey Kelly, a history and art major, the clothing line features artwork by Whitman artists and is currently run out of the Fouts Center for Visual Arts.

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“I’ve been skateboarding since the seventh grade and had fallen in love with that graphic style, the classic t-shirts. So I knew that I wanted to kind of pursue something like that,” Chaparro said of the company’s origins. “I looked into internships over the summer, thinking maybe I’d work with a clothing company or maybe a skateboard company. But I was nervous about how that would work out, so I decided to just start my own thing.”

Audrey Kelly '13 and Jesus Chaparro '13

Audrey Kelly ’15 and Jesus Chaparro ’15

The fledgling company has been working tirelessly over the last few months to get the word out about its product. Mostly made popular by word of mouth, a select group of students “in the know” have popped up around campus sporting the unique designs.

So what’s next for this successful shirt making crew?

“Humans Being had expressed interest in us maybe making shirts for them. And we’ve actually had an offer to sell our stuff in Blue Window Vintage, the store above Coffee Perk,” Kelly said. “So now we’re trying to decide if and how much we want to expand production, enough to sell to stores here in the Walla Walla area.”

Inspiration, conceptual art and a finished shirt!

Inspiration, conceptual art and a finished shirt!

“We’re also thinking about reaching out to other clubs for some promotional stuff,” Chaparro added. “Like KWCW or [The Pioneer]: We’d say, ‘Listen to this radio show on this day, or look for this feature in the newspaper and there’ll be a surprise.’ We haven’t worked out the details yet, but we’d love to support other on-campus groups.”

Cryptid currently features the designs of Chaparro, Kelly and six other Whitman artists: sophomores Natalie Shaw, Scott Martin, Noah Jensen, Tim Reed and Max Skotheim and first-year Asa Mease. Students interested in finding out more information or acquiring t-shirts can visit the company’s publicity page at www.facebook.com/cryptidapparel or email cryptidapparel@gmail.com to receive the group newsletter and updates.

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