What were you doing your 1st semester in college? No need to answer that out loud, especially if you have kids within earshot. Today I had to opportunity to speak with a UW-Madison freshman who would put any parent’s mind at ease. Elm Grove native and UW-Madison freshman, Matthew Schlidt, had a lot to talk about when he came home for semester break. Not only did he successfully complete his first term, he also founded a new business and provided a forum to giveback.
At the beginning of the semester Matt joined the UW Madison Entrepreneurial Learning Community and immediately began brainstorming business ideas. Although he’s looking to go into Marketing and Finance, he dabbled in graphic design enough to develop the Smile On Wisconsin logo, but it’s more than just a logo. Behind the logo Matt created a powerful social movement with a mission to ‘Promote a Healthy and Happy Lifestyle in an Inspiring Way.’ Quite plainly, he is encouraging people to be happy. It sounds so simple, but also it also serves as the vital reminder that I venture to say at some point all of us need. In an effort to spread even more smiles Matt has pledged to donate:
10% of the profits to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Foundation for Dental Care to give others the ability to live a happy and healthy lifestyle that they cannot afford on their own.
The smiles don’t stop there. The Smile On Clothing model perfectly illustrates the ripple effect of buying local. Not only is Matt starting his own local company and helping a local charity, he also manufactures the shirts locally through Underground Printing on State Street in Madison. Now several local businesses have exciting forecasts to look forward to in 2016 as Smile On Clothing is growing. Expansion plans include line extensions with the upcoming launch of two new designs, along with possible addition of hoodies and tanks and the University Bookstore has placed an order for Smile On’s first brick and mortar presence. As the business grows, so does Matt’s propensity to give back. He is working with Children’s Hospital on fundraising events and don’t forget about his 10% donation of all profits.
As Matt says, “Everybody wants some positive energy in their lives.” Through all of our interactions, Matt has exemplified this statement. I find it hard to interact with Matt without smiling. While I believe Matt is modest, he adamantly credits his twin brother Joey and some good friends for helping Smile On Clothing get to where it is today. He says that like it’s been a long venture over time, but keep in mind all of this has happened in a semester. It makes me curious to see what Matt will accomplish over the next 3 1/2 years and beyond.
If you want to take part of the movement or if you simply want a cool new tee click here to visit the Smile On Clothing website.