CU grads make an imprint on community Exhibit
APACHE, Okla. — Two Cameron graduates have built a place to express their passion for their work and for one another. Katrina and Matt Thompson, owners of Affinitee Graphics, have a storefront for the business that started as an internship during their studies at CU.
Go down Interstate 44, take the Apache exit and keep driving. Turn right at the only light in town, and in the center of downtown stands Affinitee Graphics. The store is filled with paintings, graphic design work and linocuts by Katrina and CU alumna Hailey Harris.
Handmade and refurbished furniture line the stylish walls including a Jack Daniels whiskey barrel that was turned into a chair by Katrina’s brother. Even the ceiling tiles are wrapped in custom T-shirt designs. Two years ago, by using assignments from upper division art and public relations classes at Cameron, they began.
“There are a lot of Cameron connections,” Matt said. “We are all Cameron people. I came from the Communication department, and she came from the Graphic Design department.”
Matt and Katrina bought equipment from a screen-printing company that went out of business in Oklahoma City. Until February, the couple was working out of their home in Cyril,Okla. The business outgrew their home shortly before graduation.
“You can see our equipment is really big,” Katrina said, “so we started to grow out of that space. It was natural to be able to move into a new area. It was really good timing.” Katrina says she enjoys having a bigger space and a place to display the work that she and others have spent so many hours on.
“It has really been a lot of fun,” Katrina said. “It is cool to have the art up that we have worked on and spent so much time and have a spot to display it where it is appreciated. People come in and they think more of our products because they can see the quality we can produce.” Matt said the work was created in the Art department during classes.
“Almost all of this work, if not all of it, was produced in the Art department at Cameron for classes and things,” Matt said. “It came from their art portfolios that they had to prepare.”
Affinitee has produced graphic tees, graphic design work and web development for various organizations and companies including MacArthur High School, Mo’Betta Company, Fair Winds and a condominium company in Costa Rica.
Their first big opportunity came the week before graduation. “We heard about it [the Costa Rica opportunity] the week we were graduating,” Katrina said. “We had one week to make sure that we were prepared to go to Costa Rica, and then we would go down there for a full week photographing all their rooms and getting everything ready for their website. That was one of those moments when you know that you can use your degree for that. It was a really cool opportunity.”
Matt also said he puts his degree to good use, and is directly applying the materials he learned in his marketing and public relations classes to their business. “I use my degree every day.” Their business model centers on the idea of building relationships with clients.
“We try to keep solid customer service,” Matt said. “We want to ensure that we keep a public relations approach with the marketing and be sure that we aren’t bottom-line oriented with everything.
“We really try to build a relationship with our clients and build off of that. That has been really successful, especially with our bigger clients.”
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