Learning to Thrive

By Hailey Stangebye

Hailing from The Land (Cleveland, Ohio), our President/COO and co-founder Chris Jones has built a business and a community here in Columbus. Even though he’s traveled far to reach where he is today, Chris remains grounded. He hasn’t forgotten the people that supported him on this entrepreneurial path to success.

“Growing up, my mom placed a much greater emphasis on formal education than I did. I was a student of life before I knew what that was,” Chris says. “I know my mom’s decisions helped me stay focused and encouraged my natural inclination to seek new information. Coming from my neighborhood, she was my ace in the hole for a better future.”

“I know my mom’s decisions helped me stay focused and encouraged my natural inclination to seek new information. Coming from my neighborhood, she was my ace in the hole for a better future.”  

While his mom had a strong influence on his early life, Chris made the decision to attend the Ohio State University of his own volition. College is where he had his first taste of independence, and he’s been paving his own path ever since.

“I’ve always been an entrepreneur. When I was younger, it was finding ways to sell candy or silly things like that. In college, it was having multiple jobs and exploring some profitable ventures at the dawn of the Internet,” Chris says. “I also cultivated my passion for helping others through my non-profit work at Godman Guild and IMPACT Community Action. I discovered that I want to help those without access and opportunity get the resources and knowledge I was gaining: money management, budgeting, investing, etc.”

That passion for community and culture, combined with his media savvy as the sales and marketing director for FlyPaper Online Magazine, was the catalyst for an entirely new venture: Warhol & WALL ST.

“What spurred Yog and I to form Warhol & WALL ST. was the energy,” Chris says. “We share that like-minded passion for the community and for cool -ish, and that overall drive to do the type of innovative work that could engage people and culture, and connect them with authentic brand experiences.”

That’s what Warhol & WALL ST. is all about: amazing, strategy-driven work that’s authentically engaging and memorable as heck. That dual nature of Warhol & WALL ST. is reflected in Chris’ personality.

“My creative superpower is my ability to apply the principles of economics and people-centric strategy,” Chris says. “I love data and strategy, but I love interacting with people and experiencing things even more.”

“My creative superpower is my ability to apply the principles of economics and people-centric strategy.”

There was no pre-existing mold for Chris and Yohannan to shape the structure and processes at Warhol & WALL ST. They had to build this innovative business model from scratch.

“Being an entrepreneur presents all of the known challenges on your time, money, energy and self-confidence. It tests relationships, friendships, you name it,” Chris says. “But I’d say our biggest challenge has been navigating the business landscape and learning about the opportunities and access that we ourselves had to gain in order to grow our business over time, while staying true to our mission and the larger vision that we’ll ultimately achieve for Warhol & WALL ST.”

Despite life and business obstacles Chris has faced, he has no shortage of motivation to keep pushing boundaries:

“Life, my family, my hard-working employees and my larger goals in life to help poor and working families have the same access and opportunity keeps me motivated,” Chris says. “I want to show people that you can thrive with whatever talent you have or will have in this world. How you chase that dream is up to you. I’m pretty low-key, so if you see me on around holler at me (Tupac reference) and if you see me in front of a group – know that I’m there to share something cool, informative, or inspiring – in my own creative way.”

“I want to show people that you can thrive with whatever talent you have or will have in this world. How you chase that dream is up to you.”