Life Beyond Universal: Thryphty makes custom-designed clothing with theme park fans in mind

For a kid born and raised in Orlando, with world-class theme parks as their playground, an obvious choice for “doing work you love” is a job in the place where so many happy childhood memories were made.

life beyond universal

And, like Walt Disney World cast members who have become Orlando’s newest entrepreneurs during the global pandemic, Universal Orlando team members also have a story to tell. Patricia is one such person, and her journey starts with childhood visits to the Universal Orlando parks.

“Throughout the years, what made each visit special were the team members we came across,” she says. “From the toll plaza to the turnstiles to the attraction exit team members, to the Park Services, everyone was working together to make each guest’s visit the best it could be, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

life beyond universal

Patricia began her career at Universal in 2015, with a stint as an Operations attendant at the attraction Men in Black: Alien Attack, and in 2018 she was offered an internship with Global Standards and Procedures. Over the course of 5 years, she filled the additional roles of trainer & safety representative, attractions operations coordinator, and international operations before lay-offs came in August, 2020.

Then, like so many others in Central Florida’s entertainment business, she had to make some quick, difficult decisions. Having taken full advantage of Universal Orlando’s college tuition reimbursement during her time with the company, Patricia was ready for life as a businesswoman having graduated from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

She transitioned to her own business, named it Thryphty (pronounced “thrifty”), and began to give an exciting new life to thrift store clothing.

“I always loved going to thrift stores and sorting through the racks and racks of shirts looking for neat designs,” Patricia says. “Although it’s a cliché saying, one person’s trash really is another person’s treasure. With Thryphty I look for shirts with interesting designs such as theme parks, sports, music, video games, or restaurants, and give them new life by acid washing and/or cutting them. The entire process is actually therapeutic for me and is a welcome escape from the stresses of living in Central Florida right now.”

But there was a bigger purpose in her mind, as well. By taking clothing out of thrift stores and finding new homes for them, Thryphty plays two Earth-friendly roles: It helps reduce “fast fashion” and it lowers waste in landfills.

Patricia says, “I’ve found that people like the idea of thrifting and upcycling clothing but they don’t have the time and [can’t put in the] effort to dig through hundreds of shirts to find something that interests them, which is where Thryphty comes in.”

Some items are humorous (one tee-shirt reads, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat Grocery Store Ice Cream” while another features Neil DeGrasse Tyson and his quote, “The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.”) while pop culture—including Star Wars, rock bands, Yu-Gi-Oh, Nintendo, and hit television shows—is well represented, as are Christmas, Pride, Disney, Marvel, and Universal themes.

Check out Thryphty’s designs on Instagram or Depop to find clothing you can feel good about.


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