Both the name of her company and the creatures that show up on her custom clothing pieces, Cronsters are abstract figures that Lilly Tabrizi (‘20) puts on everything she can get her hands on.
“Sometimes my creatures are happy looking, sometimes they’re scary looking,” Tabrizi said. “The happier ones are just creatures, but the scarier looking ones some people perceive as monsters, so there are dual perceptions of them. I was trying to think of a name for them and the company and thought Creature? Monster? Cronster. And it just stuck.”
Tabizi graduated in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but instead of mourning the loss of a traditional senior year she decided to embrace this extra time and use it to further the Cronster brand.
She graduated with a degree in business with an emphasis in entrepreneurship, but she’s always been artistic and harbored a love for fashion. Tabrizi said she didn’t initially know how to merge her business acumen and passions, but got inspired during her semester abroad in London. There she began experimenting with digital sketches and putting her art on clothes.
“I had the name and I had the idea that I wanted to create art on clothes, but I didn’t know where to go from there,” Tabrizi said. “I started doing digital designs on beanies and hoodies, which I never made, but that got the artistic flow going. When I got back from London I had time to myself to focus on it, so I created a limited edition collection.”
Tabrizi entitled the capsule collection the Cabazon Collection, which was made up of thrifted denim pieces hand painted with Cronsters. To promote the line she did a photoshoot in the desert and launched the collection on the Cronster Instagram. She was able to sell pieces and also gave them away to friends. Since this first collection, Tabrizi has also pushed the brand in new directions. She created a digital movement called “All is Human, All is Cronster,” where she created personalized digital art pieces for followers that incorporated Cronsters and each person’s unique interests.
“I started this movement because I think that everyone is their own Cronster,” Tabrizi said.
Additionally, Tabrizi has fulfilled custom clothing orders and connected with some of her own favorite artists during quarantine.
“I decided to reach out to some of my favorite DJs on Instagram that are more niche and small. What better time to reach out to these people than now because everybody’s bored so this is the time they’re going to respond rather than in a year when they’re hyper busy and don’t have time to collaborate. I didn’t think they were going to respond, but the next morning two of my favorite DJs responded.”
Since the initial conversations, Tabrizi created a custom jumpsuit for musician Evan Giia (@evangiia) and is collaborating with another musician to create a merchandise drop for his record label. Evan Giia, who has over 20k followers on Instagram, posted a photo of her in Tabrizi’s custom outfit, which resulted in referrals for more custom orders for future clients.
“Seeing cronster on someone that I admire so much already makes my brand worth it to me,” Tabrizi said. “I was going to give up on it, and I never would have believed you if you told me last year this is where Cronster would be today.”
Despite so many successes, Cronster is still in it’s beginning stages so Tabrizi is also working in real estate while she further develops Cronster into a profitable business. While these two things may seem unrelated, in the spirit of CCI, Tabrizi likes to think critically about creativity and hone it in all different aspects of her life, even those that traditionally don’t seem creative.
“Because I’m a business major I always tried to relate what I was learning in class to starting up something creative because I feel like business and creativity go hand in hand, but the business school at Chapman doesn’t necessarily focus on those things,” Tabrizi said.
Tabrizi was able to put this practice into her work with real estate by thinking of innovative ways to entice potential buyers. She was specifically working on a mid century modern home in Laguna Beach that just wasn’t selling. Tabrizi knew they needed to get more people into the open houses, so she and a coworker brainstormed and came up with the idea integrating fashion into real estate.
“We tried to think out of the box by analyzing some of the target audiences of boutiques in Laguna and as we looked at their followers there was a lot of crossover. We decided to throw a pop-up shop at our listing and had local laguna beach vendors stage their products at the party,” Tabrizi said. “Having that innovative pop-up shop approach, which we hadn’t seen done before, definitely gave the buyer an idea of what could be done with the space and pushed them to buy.”
Tabrizi found out about the CCI minor too late to take part in the program, but thinks any sort of classes that can bridge business and creativity are invaluable for college students.
“I think someone who’s business minded but can diversify their education and take these creative courses is honestly a lot better off because a lot of people can’t do both,” said Tabrizi. “CCI meshes the two and can teach your brain to switch back and forth.”
Her advice to anyone working on creative endeavors or trying to start their own business comes down to one simple thing:
“Just DM, DM, DM and don’t give up until you get a response” she said.
For college students, building your network is key because you never know what opportunities are going to come from it. Tabrizi said that networking is one of the most valuable lessons Cronster and her time in real estate has taught her. She doesn’t let the fear of rejection stop her, but instead thinks of all of the great things that can come from the times people say yes.
Besides networking, Tabrizi said everyone needs to embrace their weirdness.
“The reason why I’ve been able to create Cronster and do what I have is because I love being kooky and weird,” she said. “Everyone is their own kook, find out why you are that way and capitalize on it.”
Follow @shop.cronster on Instagram to shop for custom pieces and Tabrizi’s DMs are always open for anyone who wants to reach out with questions.