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Meet Cynthia Campoy Brophy and Julie Ray of Create Protest in Echo Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cynthia Campoy Brophy and Julie Ray.

Julie Ray and Cynthia Campoy Brophy have worked together for nearly 20 years in the nonprofit sector and have joined forces once again to launch Create Protest. They decided to start this online marketplace selling artist-designed protest merchandise in 2020, a critical election year. Create Protest engages artists to visually represent statements of unity and inclusivity, calls to action, community values of respect and fairness in an effort to motivate change and encourage participation in our Democracy. Our merchandise activates us to all speak out, speak up, demonstrate, and campaign. When you walk around your neighborhood wearing a shirt that says “Vote”, you are doing your part to encourage people to go to the ballot box.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting a business has been fun and a good challenge. We have tapped into the user-friendly platforms of Shopify and Printful to create a website and offer “print-on-demand” products. This has allowed us to launch a business with low risk. If we did this a few years ago, we would have had to purchase designed and printed merchandise and hope that we sold what we invested in. The way we’re doing it now, merchandise only gets printed after it has been ordered, and it gets packaged, mailed, taxed and shipped by these two platforms! We get to do the creative side of convening an amazing group of artists, of celebrating and sharing their work and lean on these two platforms to help us with our backend needs. The biggest challenge we are working through now is marketing. We’ve got our website marketplace up and running, now we are working on expanding our audience.

Please tell us about Create Protest.
Create Protest is designed as a hybrid business combining activism and commerce. Our artists receive a percentage of every sale. We chose this direction, as opposed to donating a percentage of profits to a nonprofit. As both of us come from the nonprofit world, the percentage of donations never yielded a substantial return for the nonprofits and became more of a marketing tool for the business. By giving a percentage directly to artists, we hope to create a business model where the more we sell, the more the artist receives. We’re just starting and haven’t been able to give back much to the artists yet, but the more merchandise people buy, the more we can support this purchase-to-artist pipeline and amplify artists’ voices to energize us all to become active and engaged citizens!

We have brought together an inspiring group of artists from Los Angeles (CA), Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Illinois and Kentucky. Our goal is to leverage the power of their designs to motivate us all to vote, to unite, to Create Protest. Their work is printed on merchandise you can wear, carry, use at your home and office, and give as gifts. We hope that our customers are as emboldened by their designs as we are and that they convey the messages that you want to shout out at this crucial time in our country’s history. Our activism efforts include phone banking with Flip the West (which resulted in the highest participation to date!) and organizing postcard writing sessions with Postcards To Voters.

We have included a “Resources” page for an up-to-date list of organizations that people can get involved with to help get out the vote, to register to vote, to help write postcards to voters in swing states, to phone bank. Our monthly newsletter highlights the creative endeavors of artists around the country who are using their creative talents to increase awareness and motivate participation in this election cycle and in our democratic process.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Julie: For many summers, my family visited my grandparents’ beach house in Gloucester, Massachusetts. My brother and I spent our afternoons exploring the sand dunes, building sandcastles and swimming in the ocean. Mostly unsupervised, it felt like a magical time to be free without the pressures of school or parents. Sadly, the house was sold but I’ll always cherish those times.

Cynthia: Family road trips! Getting in the car and driving away on an adventure. One year we drove from Los Angeles all the way up the California coast to Victoria, Canada, stopping to explore the majestic Redwoods. We started a tradition then that my family still practices…. we begin every road trip by singing “wagons ho!” as we leave the driveway. I don’t know why this started, but we can never leave for a trip without this shout out!

Pricing:

  • Prices range from $5 for a sticker, $25 for a t-shirt, to $35 for a hoody

Contact Info:

  • Website: https://createprotest.com/
  • Phone: 213-761-7162
  • Email: contact@createprotest.com
  • Instagram: @createprotestmerch
  • Facebook: @createprotestmerch
  • Twitter: @CreateProtest


Image Credit:

– Drawings of Cynthia and Julie and her daughter by artist Deborah Aschheim as part of her project @365daysofvoters, a visual diary of voters posted on Instagram to inspire people to vote. Create Protest merch worn by our artists and our fans. LA artist Man One’s “Vote” t-shirt captures President Obama’s message. LA artist Robbie Conal celebrates the “Supreme” Ruth Bader Ginsberg. _LA graphic designer Melanie Green pays homage to the late, great designer Milton Glaser’s iconic design with this encouragement for us all to vote. LA artist Stephen Glassman invokes the first word of our Constitution to remind us all that “we” are more powerful in community. LA designer Juliette Bellocq reminds us that “truth matters”. _LA artist Luz Rodriguez says “viva feminismo”!

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