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Yalies Sell School-Specific Shoes, Harvard Next

By Marc G. Steinberg, Contributing Writer

A Yale student business peddling school-specific footwear on the University’s New Haven campus is aiming to bring the same service to other colleges, including Harvard, one of the operation’s founders said yesterday.

Yale senior Timothy Kau and his partner, junior Christopher Chau, founded the startup footwear company known as Campus Kings which is already marketing its first two lines of sneakers.

“We wanted to introduce a shoe that someone who went to Yale would immediately be able to recognize and relate to,” said Chau. “We have made it our mission to provide a fresh aspect to college apparel.”

Campus Kings’ two product lines—dubbed “Eli” and “Bulldog”—will each target different demographics, offering both an athletic sneaker and a more casual, canvas shoe.

Both lines, Chau said, are intended to emphasize school spirit—right down to the image of Yale’s famous Harkness Tower printed on the shoe’s heels.

“We are not just going to change the colors or layout of already existent Yale apparel,” said Chau. “Our goal is to contribute to the overall pride of the school community.”

Chau’s plans to expand his operation to other universities might be met favorably even by Yale’s gridiron enemies, according to Rick Calixto, Harvard’s director of trademark operations.

“We always encourage entrepreneurial students to pursue their ideas, and we would certainly be in support of a Harvard sneaker line so long as it fell within accepted traditional parameters,” Calixto said.

For now, the idea behind Campus Kings has already drawn some approval on Yale’s New Haven campus.

“Shoes depicting the Yale logo could most likely be a good and profitable item,” said Ken Stewart, a Yale Bookstore employee, when asked about the venture yesterday.

Yale senior Clayton Crooks emphasized that the shoes, which Campus Kings has said will sell for anywhere between $40 and $70, are affordable. Crooks said he believed that designer shoes without school logos tended to sell for more.

“Given all of the college and graduate school alumni harboring intense Yale pride, I think that these sneakers will do very well,” Crooks added.

Chau said he intended to push his venture ahead even in what has lately been a bleak consumer climate.

“I don’t care if we do anything more than break even,” he said. “So long as college students are wearing our shoes and enjoying the increased sense of school spirit and pride.”

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