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Person To Watch

Claudio Quintana

For The Heights

Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 23:02

From sporting the name of your college to your favorite vacation destination, t-shirts can be found in countless designs and say a lot about an individual. This has never been truer than for Claudio Quintana, CSOM ’16. In 8th grade, he became interested in screen-printing t-shirts, a medium in which the designs of t-shirts are burned onto mesh screens, allowing ink to flow through the mesh and onto the shirts in the original design’s pattern. Quintana’s enjoyment in designing his own t-shirts led him to create A New Origin, LLC in 2011.

With the motto, “Better for the Earth. Better for Humanity,” A New Origin is sustainable lifestyle company that creates eco-friendly apparel and accessories, with a portion of proceeds going toward a number of social initiatives. The t-shirts are produced from cotton milled in the Carolinas and sewn in Los Angeles, CA. The designs on the shirts are then printed in Portland, OR, Quintana’s hometown.

Social initiatives are important to Quintana and can be found at the core of his business. “I think all businesses can be social,” Quintana said. “If you look at where change comes—innovation-wise—it’s from entrepreneurs more so than policy. The successful entrepreneurs that are in any society, especially those in third world countries, are all trying to accomplish something social.” In the past, a portion of the proceeds from a particular shirt sold (the “Fly”) were donated to the Build a School in Africa Foundation, a non-profit that builds schools in Mali.

When asked what his favorite part of managing his business has been, Quintana responded, “It’s fun coming up with ideas and then making them happen.” This sense of creativity permeates through Quintana’s work. Portland is home to many coffee shops, which regularly receive burlap bags filled with coffee beans. When Quintana noticed that many of these bags were being thrown away, he contacted a small sewing operative in Portland to recycle the burlap sacks into wallets. Because each wallet is handcrafted, no two wallets are the same in color and design. Some wallets feature the word “coffee” across the side, while others showcase identifying numbers from the bags they were repurposed from.

Sol—the Spanish word for “sun”—is the most recent product line at A New Origin. Hand-crafted from bamboo, the sunglasses are more sustainable than those made with plastics. Because bamboo floats, the sunglasses are perfect for those who enjoy water activities. Bamboo doesn’t stop with sunglasses, though. Soon, natural bamboo watches will be available for purchase. Moleskine brand journals stamped with hand-carved stamps of iconic images, such as Portland bridges, and burlap laptop cases (“burlaptop cases”) are also in the works. Currently, items are sold in Portland boutique shops and online at

Running a business is challenging, but it is clear that passion encompasses everything related to A New Origin by the thought and creativity found in each unique product and the social impact the company is creating. “It has to be fun,” Quintana commented on spending your time doing things you truly enjoy, before adding, “It has been fun.”

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