eCommerce for pets

NMU class creates Snout Stickers to help UPAWS

MARQUETTE — Who wouldn’t love a heartwarming sticker on a backpack that says “My therapist has a wet nose”? Or one that has a paw print on a coniferous wilderness setting with the sun in the background?

Juniors and seniors in Northern Michigan University’s Marketing and eCommerce 470 class have developed a project, “Snout Stickers,” to raise money for the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter.

The project launched Tuesday at

Ryan Fenley, one of the students who worked on Snout Stickers in a public relations capacity, said the class was assigned a project at the beginning of the semester.

“The whole class idea is, we have to come up with a product, design everything, like the website — what we want to feature with it, how we want to work with it, how we want to try to sell it,” Fenley said.

The project, he stressed, has to be featured on the internet, not at a physical location.

“That was the uniqueness of it,” Fenley said. “We have to try to do something online. So, our thought process when we first started it is, why don’t we do stickers?”

The students wanted to work with a local organization as well.

“We had several ideas,” Fenley said. “They were all very good, but UPAWS was one that we all were endeared to, but who doesn’t love animals?”

Fenley has first-hand experience with the organization.

“These guys are wonderful,” he said. “They do such a great job.”

The class then began communicating with UPAWS to give back while benefiting themselves with getting real-world experience., which has the tagline “Turn your compassion into action,” displays all the colorful stickers, which cost $6 for a pack of six, $10 for two packs and $15 for three sets. All proceeds go toward UPAWS.

The website also includes an explanation of the project, information about UPAWS and links to email, Facebook and Instagram.

The students used a variety of specialty skills such as public relations, marketing, design, media and advertising.

The design team, for example, created the stickers by using Workshop Graphics for the visuals, said student Scott Crady, who was part of the video team that complemented the project.

“We had a few of the design people come up with a bunch of different stickers that were optimized for circular platforms and stuff that would look good on mobile,” Crady said.

The designers then brought it to the class which, he said, voted on the stickers it liked the best. Eventually, six designs were chosen.

The stickers are sturdy enough to be placed on a variety of surfaces, such as a backpack.

“They’re really awesome,” Crady said. “They’re made of high-quality material. They’re the stuff that you can put on the outside of a car and it won’t come off.”

Crady said the video team will create an online video that was to have gone live by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Teamwork was an important part of the Snout Stickers project.

For example, Fenley said his two-person PR team worked hand in hand with the other teams.

“Very collaborative,” Crady said. “We’re basically building a business from the ground up, completely online.”

The project runs through the end of the semester.

No specific monetary goal has been set, but the recipient is a no-kill animal shelter that relies heavily on donations.

“Anything that we can do will help them,” Crady said.

And it’s not just about the financials.

UPAWS is building a new shelter along M-553 in Sands Township to replace its current shelter along Snowfield Road in Negaunee Township.

“We just want the community to get involved, and hopefully that we can raise awareness to UPAWS,” Crady said. “They’re very deserving of what they get. They do a lot for a lot of animals out there. We went and visited the facility during the filming process, and we found out they definitely are in need of that new building.”

UPAWS Executive Director Kori Tossava said she loved the entire idea of Snout Stickers.

“I think it’s a very nice thing to do,” Tossava said. “We love to be able to work with the students at Northern Michigan University.”

She also liked the fact the class worked through various components of the project.

“They came up with all of these ideas, and it was exciting to see them go through that process,” Tossava said.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is