The University of Iowa

In the news: UI students start business to study abroad

July 2nd, 2019

Kennedy Voss (left) and Taylor Williams (right) pose for a portrait on the Ped Mall on June 27, 2019. Voss and Williams started a business called Wanderlust Wraps to pay for their study abroad trip. (Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan)

Andy Mitchell, The Daily Iowan

Two University of Iowa students went beyond crowdfunding to take a semester abroad by starting their own business. Now, after successful fundraising, the business shows to have a life of its own.

University of Iowa students Taylor Williams and Kennedy Voss started Wanderlust Wraps in May 2018, selling headbands to raise money for the Semester at Sea Study Abroad Program. After returning from the program, Williams and Voss joined the Founders Club for UI student entrepreneurs, and they can see their business expanding.

“That was the only way we were going to get there,” Voss said. “We wanted to do Semester at Sea and with the hefty price tag that comes with it, we didn’t know how we were going to do it unless we created a business or some sort of financial strategy to get us there.”

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

Semester at Sea is not a UI study-abroad program, and the student fees can be more than $25,000. Elizabeth Wildenberg de Hernandez, senior associate director of the UI Study Abroad programs, said the cost of Semester at Sea is on the higher end of most programs.