With the goal of spreading positivity and smiles, five students at Utah Tech University created a business in hopes of making a profit and an impact through fashion.
Beginning in January 2023, these students participated in a project for an entrepreneurship class. Despite not knowing each other beforehand, they worked together to create long-lasting friendships and QR Hoodies, a business with the main goal of making people smile by wearing fashionable clothing.
The students who started the business are as follows:
- CEO Sophie Wood, a freshman management major from Lehi
- Marketer Jared Fotu, a freshman management major from Alpine
- Social media marketer Hailey Reynolds, a freshman general studies major from St. George
- Product manager Kirsten Dopp, a sophomore general studies major from St. George
- Developer manager Ava Poppe, a freshman general studies major from St. George
Despite selling hoodies, a commonly sold apparel item loved by many, there’s more than what meets the eye with QR Hoodies. Located on the frontside of the hoodies lies a smiley face and the quote, “Be the reason someone smiles today.” On the backside of each hoodie lies a QR code that takes its scanners to the business website where a new, positive quote awaits its readers every day.
“You’ll never wear the same quote twice because it’s always something relevant, and fresh and new,” Wood said.
Wood said the idea came to her when discussing ideas with her group at the start of the semester. With prior experience of owning another clothing business, Hello Mod Clothing, Wood felt inspired to continue her fashion journey with the creation of a new business with a different message: spreading positivity.
“I really like the business because I have never seen the idea before,” Fotu said. “I also think the hoodies look pretty good. Obviously people want to look good, so I like that we are able to spread positivity and also spread good looking hoodies.”
Owning a business comes with its own highs and lows, and the group has felt the outcomes of both.
“The highs of owning the business are definitely getting recognized and seeing the progress,” Wood said. “We like seeing the hard work pay off, but obviously, there’s a high risk with entrepreneurship.”
Although some of the risks that come with entrepreneurship include the potential loss of both money and time, Wood said the rewards and goals of the business are what make it all worth it.
“Our number one goal is making people smile,” Wood said. “We want to make a difference and spread positivity, and that’s what this business does.”
To spread positivity and sell more hoodies, the group has found social media to be an effective way to advertise their business. Through the use of both Instagram and TikTok, they have been able to reach a wider audience and increase engagement with potential customers, especially on campus.
After doing a photo shoot to celebrate their first launch day on April 4, Wood said, “We basically broke even with our launch, and we are almost out of hoodies.”
With the outcome of their launch day, the group put in another order of hoodies to keep up with the high demand of their apparel. With many of their hoodies being sold within the first week of their launch, buyers were quick to purchase from the business.
“I decided to buy from QR Hoodies because it’s such a great message,” said Ashley Peterson, a freshman management major from American Fork. “I think it’s important for everyone to be kind to others and remember that we’re all going through something, so it’s important to just smile.”
Although the business was started as a class project in hopes of receiving a good grade, Wood said, “We’re obviously continuing it and want to make it grow as much as possible.”
With the summer heat of St. George quickly approaching its residents, the group hopes to expand its apparel selection within the next couple of months to other items that allow for comfortability and style in the hot weather, such as shorts, shirts and hats.
“I hope our business blows up,” Wood said. “I think it’s such a good idea, and I think that it can go so many different ways in the future.”
With dreams of turning the business into a brand that promotes mental health awareness, Wood believes the business’ positive message can have a significant impact on people’s lives.
“Our hoodies retail for $49 which is a super reasonable price,” Wood said. “Anywhere you walk, you’ll make everybody that scans your hoodie smile, and I think it’s such a positive message.”