Today we’d like to introduce you to Jes Shapiro.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was raised in a varied and creative environment. My father is an architect, wood carver, boat builder and all-around craftsman. My mother an editor, skilled seamstress, and artistic talent.
My childhood was spent in traveling to unique locations: on a houseboat all around Florida; a farm deep in the Appalachian Mountains; the island of Grenada in the West Indies; and finally finishing school on Vancouver Island. These experiences helped shape my perspective on the world and my artistic endeavors
I studied for my Interior Design degree in Tampa, Florida, while I am spending my free time volunteering at a local art gallery; an experience that I treasure to this day. Being a part of a creative community is so rewarding. Upon attaining my degree, I moved to Dallas, Texas, to marry my husband, Ben; whom I met at boarding school years earlier!
He supported me starting my own Design and CAD drafting company— thus beginning my journey on the road of entrepreneurship. Working for myself allowed me to learn and grow so much Ben and I yearned for a more vibrant artistic community, so we moved ourselves and my business to San Antonio in 2004.
Purchasing a historic, early-1900s neglected Craftsman bungalow near downtown, our spare time was dedicated to remodeling it. Doing much of the work ourselves was a massive learning undertaking. By the time we moved to Phoenix in 2010, it was fully restored and a tasting jewel for the neighborhood.
On to PHOENIX and an unexpected love affair! I remember the first time I really looked at Camelback Mountain… we were house hunting. My husband had already looked at over 50 homes on his trips prior to the move, now it was my turn to go with him. We pulled up to this house in Arcadia, I was preoccupied at first, then I turned, and there…she… was… towering over the landscape.
This would be THE house, and that would be OUR view. Our twin boys were nearly two, and the Arcadia area provided a dreamy backdrop for homeschool and outdoor activities with them Maintaining a creative outlet has been so important, and Arizona provided abundantly. The exotic landscapes motivated me to focus more on my photography and composition skills.
I began studying Graphic Design and the Adobe Creative Suite, opening a whole new avenue with my love of computer-based design. My husband began trail running up Camelback soon after we moved here. He would come home with such a look of satisfaction… fait accompli!
In September of 2017, Ben decided to challenge himself to witness Three Hundred Summit Sunrises in 365 days. Inspired by his goal and the Community on the mountain, I created the first Super Camelback design. The very first template was cut from freezer paper, and hand stenciled. It never occurred to me that other people would want one!
But as Ben wore it on his many morning runs, more and more people inquired about the Super Camelback shirt. Give the people what they want, right? So I digitized it and made them available for purchase. This emboldened me to develop some of my other sketches into graphics for tees, starting our first online store.
When Ben completed his Three Hundred Summit Sunrises challenge, we were so inspired by all the amazing people we met and the community that we had become a part of. We decided to brand our business Camelback Culture, hoping to share the culture and community of the mountain while selling some of our products.
The whole family is now a part of the enterprise! Our twins, now ten years old, assist with our community blog and are my constant supporters. Ben assists by being my sounding board, technical support and “sign flipper,” wearing our shirts while he repeatedly Summits the Camel.
I am the Designer, Photographer, Photo Editor, Social Media, and Marketing Director and anything else that needs to be done! We are trying to grow organically while having a wonderful time meeting more of our Community!
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?
With all the hats I wear in life, I struggle with having enough time to research and learn everything that goes into modern business and community building: websites, products, branding, social media, etc.! As business owners know, the list is endless. Also, trying to not get deterred by the pace of growing organically right now.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about CamelbackCulture.com – what should we know?
Culture, Clothes, Community. Our most recognizable design currently is Super Camelback. But we hope CamelbackCulture is known for Community first.
On CamelbackCulture.com, we have our Community Spotlight Blog, sharing the Culture and stories of our Community.
We also admin the @CamelbackCulture page on Instagram, where we repost some of the great images and stories from folks on and around Camelback Mountain, our vertical Central Park.
What are your plans for the future?
We hope to continue expanding the Community and growing the business. We are adding printed photography and digital art, available on CamelbackCulture.com and soon at Open Mind Emporium in the Scottsdale Fashion Center. The big dream is to bring on other creators in the future, gaining even greater Culture.
- $9 sticker pack available at Open Mind Emporium
- All Shirts 20% off at Open Mind Emporium
- Website: CamelbackCulture.com
- Phone: 210 875 4295
- Email: CamelbackCulture@gmail.com
- Instagram: @jes_plus_az @CamelbackCulture @CamelbackCulture.shop
- Facebook: @CamelbackCulture @JAZjesPlusAZ
Jes Shapiro, Ben Shapiro, Ken Koshio