This story is part of a series featuring each of the fourteen startups in the CYstarters 2021 summer cohort. Each team has the opportunity to focus on their startup or business idea while receiving $6,500 or up to $13,000, along with mentorship, accountability, and educational sessions on how to build a business.
By Samantha Dilocker, ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship
Founded by Iowa State University student Kendra Boone, STGMA is a personal care company bringing awareness to the mental health issues that college students and young adults face by selling various products that promote self-care and creating an informative and supportive online community to help end the stigma surrounding mental health.
Get to know: Kendra Boone
Education: Sophomore majoring in Entrepreneurship & Marketing
Passionate about: People
Most recently I: Finished my freshman year at Iowa State
Currently working on: STGMA
When did you start working on STGMA?
I started working on STGMA in April 2021.
Have you always seen yourself starting something?
Yes. My mom inspired me to start my own business and introduced me to entrepreneurship in the 6th grade, and I attended an entrepreneurship camp before 7th grade. I hope to become a serial entrepreneur. STGMA is my current project, however, I have plans to start more in the future.
Why personal care products?
The transition from high school to college wasn’t easy. I came to Iowa State not knowing many people and found myself feeling like I could not relate to my peers. I found comfort in my nighttime routine, which allowed me to check in with myself at the end of the day. Over winter break, I started creating my own body care products.
How have you grown since you started?
Becoming a part of CYstarters has been such an honor, I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow my brand. I’ve allowed myself to open up more to create deep relationships with those around me.
What future milestones would you like to hit?
What’s really important to me is finding a national organization to partner with STGMA to help make therapy more accessible to those who may not have the resources or access to therapy.
What is the biggest challenge you face each day?
The biggest challenge I face every day with my business is my desire to constantly change my product line. I have so many different ideas; it’s hard to decide which to pursue! Also, waking up in the morning to get started is a challenge. I’m not a morning person!
How has entrepreneurship at Iowa State impacted you?
I could go on and on about this! I decided to attend Iowa State because they offer entrepreneurship as a major, which differentiated them from other schools. I’ve been welcomed with open arms and had the opportunity to act as a peer mentor for the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Learning Community, which was really exciting because I’m given the opportunity to shape what I believe entrepreneurship should be at Iowa State. The staff at the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship make the idea of entrepreneurship less daunting. They work so hard to help ideas come to life. With the help of the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, anyone can become an entrepreneur at Iowa State.
What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student?
Simple. Always look forward, never look back.
Where are you headed? And how would you invite others to join you?
I’m headed towards ending the stigma around mental illness. I would invite others to join me by sharing their personal stories and following STGMA on Instagram to join our supportive community.