WOOF Supplies: Eliminating Avoidable Barriers

WOOF Supplies was founded by Chris Olmanson, A&S ’14, his brother Alex, University of Denver ‘14, and Jack Angell, University of Wisconsin-Madison ’14. Their business plan is simple: for every WOOF notebook purchased, they donate a notebook to a child in need. Through their partnership with the Kids In Need Foundation, underprivileged students throughout the United States receive one-subject, 70 page notebooks.

Chris Olmanson was inspired to start the company after studying abroad in El Salvador where he was face-to-face with poverty and its effects. He learned that many children there dropped out of school because they could not afford the supplies they needed, such as notebooks and uniforms. Upon returning to the United States, he realized that he could make an impact on kids’ education here by eliminating an “avoidable barrier.”

Jono Keedy / Gavel Media

Jono Keedy / Gavel Media

Studies show that children who do not have adequate school supplies are less confident in school, concentrate and participate less, and are more likely to drop out of school. WOOF’s goal is to provide greater educational opportunities to students who ordinarily do not have access to new school supplies. WOOF’s mission is to provide kids with new school supplies that they need to succeed.

In addition to providing notebooks for kids, WOOF also has a mind for environmental issues: For every tree they cut down, they plant two trees.

WOOF has sold over 1,000 notebooks in the University of Denver, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Boston College. About 400 notebooks have been sold at BC, and their presence in the BC community continues to grow. The demand for WOOF notebooks on campus suggests a possibility that they will be in the BC bookstore by next fall.

WOOF Supplies / Facebook

Photo courtesy of WOOF Supplies / Facebook

The organization has made headway at BC this semester. Britt Gordon, CSOM ’14, Maria Concha, CSOM ’16, and Andrew Thomas, CSOM ’16, have joined forces with co-founder Olmanson. The group has worked on increasing their exposure by discussing business strategies with a CSOM Portico class, and they will continue to participate in various campus events throughout the year.

“WOOF Supplies combines a high quality product with a strong social vision,” says Thomas. Although other companies like TOMS have a similar “You buy one, we donate one” model, no other social entrepreneurship ventures have aimed at providing school supplies directly to underprivileged children.

With the support of the BC community, WOOF believes that their unique approach can bring attention not only to its product but also to improving the equality of educational opportunities throughout the United States.

Year: 2017
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