Chancellor Carroll’s apparel


T-Shirts produced by San Diego Republic, a private venture of San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance M. Carroll and business partner public radio host Martha Barnette are displayed in Simply Local at the Headquarters at Seaport District. Photo credit: Troy Orem

Troy Orem, Photo Editor

San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance M. Carroll has started a new personal project with close friend and public radio host Martha Barnette.

The clothing and accessory venture, called San Diego Republic, expands on the pair’s passion for celebrating San Diego and is intended to benefit environmental and wildlife causes.

To say that Carroll, the chancellor of the second-largest community college district in California, is a busy person is perhaps an understatement. Navigating the legal and financial mazes thrown at venture seekers by the bureaucracy of California can be more than a full-time job, one that “The People’s Chancellor” has taken on.

One would assume that the concept of “off time” would be sacrosanct. Not so in the case of Carroll, who has elected to start a brand new project completely outside her duties as chancellor and separate from any work with the district. Getting San Diego Republic off the ground began with a time-consuming, 10-month process.

“One has to obtain approval by the Secretary of State, a federal employer identification number, a seller’s permit, franchise tax payments, as well as copyrights and trademarks for the product itself,” Carroll stated via email. “I learned a great deal in the process.”

The T-shirts feature a design chosen by Carroll and Barnette that fills a perceived need for San Diego to have an iconic theme and pulls from different elements, “particularly the California flag, the popular pandas of our zoo and the colors of the coast,” Carroll said.

“Sales have been good, and the shirts are popular with visitors,” said Kim Olson, assistant manager of Simply Local, one of the three stores selling the T-shirts in the Seaport District. “They have brought a lot of positive attention to
the store.”

The shirts can also be found at The Beach House in San Diego International Airport, the Pangaea Outpost in Pacific Beach and through the San Diego Republic

New colors and designs are being added, with future plans to include a panda plush toy featuring the panda design.

Though this project is just kicking off, they are already involved with two environmental groups: The San Diego Coastkeeper, which focuses on restoring water throughout San Diego County, and Ecolife, which focuses on providing ecologically sustainable water, food and shelter through education programs.