DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – A 20-year-old college student is taking recycling to another level.
Jessica Steffens, a junior at St. Norbert College, is a full-time college student, dog lover, and the owner of PupCycle, a line of dog toys made from 100% recycled materials.
“My love and passion for dogs made me create the idea, and I also wanted to be as eco-friendly as possible, so I just wanted to create those dog toys for dogs and the environment,” says Steffens.
A business major, Steffens came up with the idea of PupCycle after taking an entrepreneurship class. Later, she went on to compete in two pitch competitions and took home 2nd place in the Fox Connection Pitch Competition, winning $15,000.
“My jaw dropped to the floor. I was not expecting it at all.”
After guidance from her college mentor, Steffens met with Aaron Armstrong, owner of the Venture Project, and Steffens created a logo, tags for the toys, a price point, and started the process of becoming an LLC.
Balancing a business and college can be challenging, luckily Steffens has her mom to help her. Steffens handles the business side and her mother Karen handles the design and production.
“Each t-shirt is cut into t-shirt yarn, so we have balls of t-shirt yarn in different colors,” says Steffens. “We get donations of different color t-shirts, different sizes. It’s all based on donations and what we find in the thrift stores.”
It takes around 1-2 hours to make a dog toy.
Steffens donates a portion of the proceeds to local animal shelter. She’s been working with Happily Ever After animal shelter in Green Bay since 2019.
Steffens plans to launch PupCycle sometime in July.
“We hope to get into farmer’s markets and have an online presence as well, but I hope that it grows and becomes nationwide.”
For more information on PupCycle, click here.