a man and a woman standing under a tent
Key West residents Bill and Feliz Andrews created the Chiguana merchandise brand two years ago, with each product embroidered locally and available at local markets and shops. CONTRIBUTED

By Wyatt Samuelson

Ask any Key West resident about the local wildlife that shares our island home, and you’re bound to hear about our chickens and iguanas.

Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re here to stay, strutting brazenly across busy streets, skulking in trees and swimming uninvited in local pools (the iguanas, not the chickens, although that would be hilarious).

One night, while out with a few friends (and, he admits, after a few beers), resident Bill Andrews took the local wildlife question a step further: What if a chicken and iguana had a baby? 

Andrews’ answer prompted laughs over drinks — and launched a fun, new business venture.

The Chiguana brand was born. 

a logo for a mexican restaurant called ciguana hey west
The Chiguana brand celebrates Key West’s chickens, iguanas and individuality.

“Chiguana” is a locally- and veteran-owned merchandise brand in Key West, created and operated by Bill Andrews, a retired Coast Guard officer, and his wife, Feliz Andrews. 

The pair have lived in Key West for nearly a decade. He now works as a civilian for the military at Truman Annex, and Feliz is a performing-arts teacher at Sigsbee Charter School. 

The Chiguana brand sells a variety of merchandise, including T-shirts, drink koozies, hats and tote bags, all featuring their signature “Chiguana” character. Feliz created the whimsical design, which came to life after the two couldn’t find a local artist who accurately captured their vision for the clever creature.

“We wanted to create a brand that locals would really recognize that would be equally appealing to Key West visitors,” Feliz Andrews said.

The Andrews adore the local Key West community and its military residents, which is why every Chiguana product is printed and embroidered locally. Their social media pages — @chiguanakw on Instagram and Chiguana Key West on Facebook — even feature models who are either active-duty military or veterans. 

 “We wanted to offer something that’s uniquely Key West with the idea that you can come here and be whatever you want to be. You don’t have to fit into a certain box.” 

a tent with shirts on display under it
The local Chiguana brand merchandise combines Key West’s chickens and iguanas with a healthy dose of humor. CONTRIBUTED

The couple typically set up shop at the Key West Artisan Market, held on Sundays, October through April, at Higgs Beach, and at local street fairs, fundraisers and other events featuring local vendor booths. Find their schedule and locations on their social media pages.

When the event benefits a local charity, the Andrews are committed to giving back to the local community.

“When we do fundraising events for the Florida Keys SPCA and others, we give 10% of the proceeds back to the cause,” Bill Andrews said.

He and Feliz also sponsor local military sports teams when they can. They’ve supported a Sigsbee soccer team and bought new jerseys for the volleyball team that feature, of course, the loveable “Chiguana.” 

The brand launched two years ago, although the first year was spent on paperwork, details and  obtaining the legal rights for the logo. They’ve been selling merchandise for about a year now and, like the local chickens and iguanas, the Chiguana population is steadily growing and becoming a familiar character around town. 

The products are available at chiguana.com and in local shops like Sea, Key West, a local watersports shop, 720B Caroline St.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with locals and tourists alike embracing the quirky and original concept. Looking ahead, Bill and  Feliz plan to expand their product line and participate in more community events, further embedding Chiguana into the fabric of Key West culture.