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Kailey Pearson and Brittan Brenner

Students develop business within Block 22

Brittan Brenner, senior in communication, and Kailey Pearson, sophomore and graphic communications, have set plans to partner together to create a business oppening in the fall called Sonder & Company. With Brenner studying an emphsis in public relations and Pearson with graphic design, the two set out to complete a dream business. 

Brenner is a Wichita native, though has thought of Pittsburg as a home away from home since even before she became a Gorilla. 

“Both of my parents attended Pitt and actually had me while attending,” Brenner said. “The transition was natural, Pittsburg was my second home and now has become my home.” 

Pearson, also a midwest natice, grew up in Valley Center and decided to attend PSU her senior year of high school. 

“I was not planning to come to Pitt at all, but I toured the campus and fell in love,” Pearson said.  

Pearson first came up with the idea of creating Sonder & Company and relayed it to Brenner, with the company taking flight only short after. 

“I thought she was just kidding,” Brenner said. “In the days following she would ask me for help with stuff and a few weeks later she asked me to be a part of it.” 

The two then visted with a friend and mentor, Sydney Anselmi of University Strategic Initiatives. Anselmi convinced Brenner and Pearson to complete the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge where they were later the first Pitt State team to place. From the challenge, Pearson and Brenner recieved $5,000 to go toward starting up their business which they titled “Sonder & Company.” 

“It went from a dream to a reality,” Brenner said. “I can honestly say this wouldn’t be a reality without Sydney. She convinced us to compete in an entrepreneurship competition where we won enough money to pay our bills for the first year; that was the moment that Sonder went from a dream to a reality. But yeah, Kailey is the reason we’re opening a store, Sydney is the reason it’s happening, and the community is the reason we’re doing it. It really is full circle when you step back and look at the whole picture.” 

Sonder & Company is a boutique featuring various, locally made goods from community members and college students. Students and community members alike can find the boutique at Block 22 fall 2018. 

“Sonder is an eclectic gift shop comprised of only locally made items,” Brenner said. “Ranging from custom stationary and logo design to candles to shirts to knitted scarves—anything locally made is in our store. It’s boutique style and will open along with the other commercial spaces in Block 22 this fall.” 

As both Pearson and Brenner are native to the Wichita area, they took advantage of this out-of-town experience to influence the growth of their business. 

“I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” Pearson said. “When I came to Pitt I missed the community pride that was so strong in Wichita. I think that giving the community a store like this will give them a bit of pride by being able to buy various goods locally.”  

Pearson said her goal for their business is to help boost community morale and further connect members of Pittsburg as well as Pitt State students.  

“We will just be a place to connect artisans, students, and community members,” she said.  

Sonder & Company’s location is planned for Fourth street on the main floor of the Commerce Building within Block 22’s site. 

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