UI students start commercial enterprise to study abroad

Two University of Iowa college students went beyond crowdfunding to take a semester overseas with the aid of starting their own commercial enterprise. Now, after a successful fundraising, the enterprise indicates to have the existence of its personal.

University of Iowa college students Taylor Williams and Kennedy Voss began Wanderlust Wraps in May 2018, selling headbands to raise cash for the Semester at Sea Study Abroad Program. After coming back from the program, Williams and Voss joined the Founders Club for UI student marketers, and they could see their enterprise expanding.


“That turned into the best way we were going to get there,” Voss stated. “We wanted to do Semester at Sea and with the hefty rate tag that includes it, we didn’t know how we have been going to do it unless we created a commercial enterprise or some type of financial method to get us there.”

Voss and Williams met as Division-1 athletes on the Hawkeye rowing team and shaped a friendship after having a mutual dislike at the onset. After quitting the team, they labored on building their business.

Semester at Sea isn’t a UI take a look at-abroad software, and the student prices can be extra than $25,000. Elizabeth Wildenberg de Hernandez, senior partner director of the UI Study Abroad packages, said the value of Semester at Sea is on the higher stop of maximum applications.

“It’s exceptional to peer students who are being entrepreneurial,” Hernandez said. “I assume that’s encouraging, and I’m now not positive that I’ve seen that before.”

During their 106 days at sea, Voss and Williams saw eleven nations and 15 towns and shared a ship with 500 other college students from all corners of the sector. When they had been distant places, Wanderlust Wraps was controlled by using a circle of relatives.

Voss, an organization-management main, and Williams, a communications principal, stated the idea for his or her product came from the hassle in their headbands slipping and falling off during exercises and rowing. Their wraps are hand-crafted with a cloth that does greater to grip the hair and live in the location.

Before going to sea, they staked out spots in front of Iowa Book and at the Farmers’‘ Market over the summertime and fall semesters of 2018, taking each possibility to sell their wraps. Voss used her classes at the Tippie College of Business to learn about developing and handling the brand new enterprise.

Voss said the UI and Iowa City groups were a superb environment for growing their business, with such university resources as attorneys, accountants, and photographers and mentorship from different ladies enterprise owners in the city.

“If you ever need anything, you just take a seat down, and there’s continually a person there to help you no matter what,” Williams stated.

As for the destiny of the business, Voss and Williams will study printing their own fabric and expanding the form of products they sell.

Hernandez started the Study Abroad office has seen steady growth in college students studying overseas, even as the office has labored to make it more available by using locating programs for college kids outside the arts and partnering with one of a kind departments to get college students involved.

After their own achievement, Voss and Williams are seeking to pay it forward by way of beginning a scholarship fund for fellow Hawkeyes the usage of the income from Wanderlust wraps.

“We need all and sundry to have that possibility, because I suppose it changed into existence-converting, and I don’t suppose money ought to be a purpose not to move,” Voss said.

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