Meet Rachel Kois, founder and CEO of Simple Switch, a convenient and ethical online shopping platform. At CU Boulder, Rachel studied Business Management and Entrepreneurship, as well as Theater Performance. After learning that business can be used as a long term and sustainable way to empower people, she became fascinated with all of the different ways that she could be a force for good, especially through her career.
Summer Abroad with Deming
Rachel was always interested in studying abroad but never found the time during her fall and spring semesters. Rachel was extremely excited to hear about an opportunity to do a summer abroad program through the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship! In the summer before her senior year, Rachel was accompanied by Erick Mueller and students from the University of Texas and University of Florida, on an abroad trip to Cape Town, South Africa . The group aimed to do business consulting for under resourced entrepreneurs in Cape Town.
After observing the lack of access to resources or even market share available to these entrepreneurs, Rachel was inspired to make a change. After coming home, she decided that she wanted her career to be focused around helping entrepreneurs, like those in Cape Town, to have more access to necessary resources.
Rachel’s senior year was filled with entrepreneurship classes that encouraged ideation. She first pitched the idea for Simple Switch for a group project. After not being chosen, the idea was placed on the back burner until she could give the project her full support and attention.
After graduating, she traveled abroad and visited 12 countries in just 11 months! From Southeast Asia to South America, she had an experience that she could integrate into all aspects of her life. The empathy that she had for those struggling in other countries is a driving force for her company.
Fully ready to dive into Simple Switch and get her idea off the ground, Rachel spent time looking for a technical cofounder to build the Simple Switch website. During a Leeds mentoring event, she connected with her mentor Adam Block from Vinyl Me, and was encouraged to explore Shopify, an international e-commerce platform that helps users start, run, and grow their business. After utilizing Shopify, she was able to begin selling and putting products out on her website in August of 2018.
Simple Switch makes ethical shopping easier and more convenient. They are able to take out some of the roadblocks that often keep people from shopping ethically. By having over 50 different brands and a wide variety of products, Simple Switch aims to be a force for positive change. They source companies that are impactful. Each company is held to a standard such as no child labor, no unpaid or underpaid labor, sustainable packaging, etc.
Currently, Rachel is building an advisory board and has a team of volunteers and interns each semester that help her with Simple Switch. Want to learn the practical skills that it takes to build a startup while also helping make a change? Fall applications are now closed but if you are interested in applying for an internship at Simple Switch in the Spring, stay updated on their website and handshake.
Advice for Current Students
“Just be thinking about what you are passionate about and what problems there are in the world that your unique skill set could solve. Even if you're not 100% sure that’s what you want to be doing, try to have something you might be passionate about in mind. My senior year was so much more meaningful because I knew that I wanted to apply the things I was learning to the company I was really passionate about.”
Check out their website, podcast, and social media here!