Small business supports community causes


Products made by Human Up

Kylie Jacobs, Managing Editor

Small businesses have taken up just about every corner of social media pages, with owners advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Tik-Tok. These small businesses offer a wide variety of items, ranging from clothes and jewelry to scrunchies and makeup. They also offer what a lot of big corporations may lack – personal connection to community. The Royal Purple’s managing editor Kylie Jacobs recently got to meet and discuss the wonders of small businesses with two local community members of Whitewater, Arden Lapin and Lily Matteson about their one-year-old business ‘Human Up.’

After meeting through Matteson’s identical twin sister, both Lapin and Matteson realized they shared very similar ideas when it came to Human Up, and Lapin invited Matteson to participate in a local sidewalk sale near her hometown in Illinois for that year’s Pride events. They both wanted to make clothes for people to participate in Pride with that were made by a small business versus a big corporation. The sidewalk sale turned out to be very successful, so they began to venture their business into what it has become today. 

They began with simple iron on t-shirts and hand painted items, but, as they’ve continued to expand, their products do as well. They now make clothes ranging in sizes from babies to adult, as well as hand painted items such as buttons and stickers. They also try to reach out and collaborate with local businesses around them as well. Most recently, Human Up had the chance to work with Active Minds for their Yellow Tulip Project. They made screen-printed t-shirts for the event. 

Human Up has an Instagram account from which they are taking orders from with a link in their bio that directs shoppers to a google form. There they are be able to choose the item they want, whether it be a custom painted order for clothing or an apparel/button order. Lapin is working on building a website for the small business. 

For big corporations, their main reason for existence may be to make profit, and not actually support the communities that they’re getting profit from. At Human Up, they believe that the communities they are making a profit from should also receive money back into their community. Most recently in the summer of 2020, Human Up hosted a fundraiser for Black Lives Matter where every donation went back into the Black community, with zero profit for Human Up. With the Black Lives Matter fundraiser, there was a complete 0 percent profit and they told people from the beginning that they will be making big donations to Black communities. Human up is hoping to have more fundraisers eventually, along with their normal sales as well, so that there’s a constant flow of money being collected for a cause. 

Lapin graduated from college in 2019 and started the venture a month later. It gave her something to focus on and work towards. It was a supplemental thing for her, but she’s gotten way more invested than she thought. It’s become something she wants to grow, and continue to learn more about operating a small business.

Matteson is still a student and dedicating as much time as she can to the business without detracting from her schoolwork. She’s excited to be a part of the project and has a lot of passion for Human Up. Matteson is looking forward to graduation so she can put more time into the business.

Both want to collaborate with a lot of different small businesses and continue supporting worthy causes through their work. For more information about Human Up visit the business’s Instagram page at or link tree at