Student creates business, helps others during pandemic

The+707+Hub+provides+entrepreneurship+opportunities+for+students+through+resources+and+mentorship.

Photo by Joceline Helmbreck

The 707 Hub provides entrepreneurship opportunities for students through resources and mentorship.

Kristen Carter, a senior in the College of Communication, used her imagination, and the resources at the 707 Hub, to create a tool that would prove to be useful for others during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 707 Hub at Marquette University is an innovative place where students can access creative work spaces, mentorship resources and collaborate with peers to create their own ideas and start-up businesses.

Her business, Carter’s Health & Lifestyle LLC, is selling the “Krisband,” a wristband that carries hand sanitizer wherever you go. 

The product comes with a Krisband Hand Sanitizer Wristband and silicone refillable sanitizing gel for $12.75. It also comes in seven different colors: black, white, red, blue, transparent blue, light pink and purple.

Carter said the wristband has a built-in pouch that allows you to fill it up with hand sanitizer. She said you can also fill it with other liquids, such as lotion, sunscreen or shampoo. The refill bottle that each wristband comes with is made to fit into the pouch to make refilling easier.

According to its website, the main goal of Carter’s business is to “provide high quality products to you that attribute to your overall wellbeing at your convenience.” 

“I was always surrounded by entrepreneurs in my family growing up, and even worked as an intern for the Women’s Innovation Network,” Carter said. “So when the pandemic hit, I began thinking about using my extra time to help others and start my own brand.”

The Women’s Innovation Network is a program with the 707 Hub that aids underrepresented women in the field of entrepreneurship.

After doing a bunch of her own research, Carter went back to the 707 Hub to bring her ideas to life.

“Once I decided to launch (my business), I utilized the advising clinic and was mentored by some of the staff (at the 707 hub),” Carter said.

Carter said she also hopes to give back to the community through her business.

According to her website, 11% of all proceeds go toward nonprofit organizations and COVID-19 relief resource centers.

Some of these organizations include the Community Organized Relief Effort in Chicago, which provides emergency relief to those affected by COVID-19; UNISEF USA, which aids children across the world and the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund, which supports those impacted by the virus.

Kelsey Otero, an associate director of social innovation at the 707 Hub, said she has watched Kristen’s business grow from its early stages.

“During the pandemic, Kristen recognized a need to be able to quickly sanitize and she created the Krisband,” Otero said. “This product is especially helpful for people who want to stay safe but may not be able to carry or keep sanitizer on them at all times.”

Otero said the 707 Hub was able to help Kristen with a number of mentoring services to help grow her company. This included meetings with Otero, Tom Avery, the 707 Hub’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence, and with the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic.

She said she also purchased a wristband for herself and her sister.

“I’m all about convenience, and the hands-free mobility of having hand sanitizer wherever you go is especially helpful, particularly in school settings,” Otero said. 

She said the wristbands can be a great gift for parents to give to their children, so they know they have access to sanitizer while they are at school.

The 707 Hub also has many opportunities coming up for students who are interested in entrepreneurship to get involved as well.

Applications for the annual pitch competition, Brewed Ideas Challenge, are currently being accepted. Students can apply for a chance to receive funding to start-up their own businesses and bring their ideas to life. The deadline to apply is March 1.

Otero said this competition offers students funding, mentorship and the opportunity to get their idea out there on a virtual stage. The live pitch event will be April 23. 

“Anyone that has an idea should apply or plan to watch the live pitch event and support fellow Marquette students,” Otero said. “We also hold regular business bootcamps to help students develop their own ideas and businesses.”

This story was written by Skyler Chun. She can be reached at skyler.chun@marquette.edu.