Alumna is making waves in the world of entrepreneurship

July 12, 2021

Alumna Mckenna Haz posing in her academic regalia

Mckenna Haz ’21, is the founder of SEAAV Athletics, a company on a mission to make waves — not waste.

The company makes sustainable athletic wear with recycled materials. All of its products are made with post-consumer water bottles, and with each purchase the company removes one pound of waste from the shoreline.

“I’ve known since I was young that I’d create a business with a purpose in my lifetime,” Haz said. “What I didn’t know is that it was going to be fueled while I was in university.”

During her first year, as part of her intro to entrepreneurship class, students had to pitch a business idea for their final project — and she pitched SEAAV Athletics.

“The thought of up-cycling something and repurposing it into something else had been spiraling around in my head for a few years,” she said. “It clicked during that semester that I should combine my two passions: athletics and the ocean.” 

In SEAAV Athletics’ first year of business, the company diverted more than 170,000 plastic bottles through its ocean clean-up initiatives with an area partner, and then repurposing them into its apparel. SEAAV Athletics’ big goal is to remove 1 million plastic bottles from shorelines by 2025.

“Sustainability and ethical manufacturing was one of my top priorities when launching SEAAV,” she said.

SEAAV uses biodegradable packaging from Noissue, a company who then plants a tree with every bag purchased. SEAAV manufactures their apparel in a WRAP certified factory in Indonesia, and they use over 80% RPET (recycled polyester) in each of their pieces.

Haz majored in advertising and integrated communications and minored in entrepreneurship and small business management at Quinnipiac. 

She attributes several professors at Quinnipiac to helping her build a strong foundation for her success. Her professors helped her with her business plan, traveled to business competitions with her, helped with her pitch and opened the door to their connections. 

“They’ve done it all. I’m forever grateful,” she said.

SEAAV started as a project for a class for Haz, and as she really started to get into it, it no longer felt like work for her, but more so creating. She did everything from the logo to the website, all within Quinnipiac’s Arnold Bernhard Library.

“I’ll be honest, it’s really difficult running a business in college, especially if you’re a solopreneur,” she said.

Haz urges those who want to start a business in college to get creative and have good time management. She advises those that it is a massive time commitment so it is imperative to make sure they have the bandwidth to handle taking on a business.

“I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by amazing friends, family, professors, and my Quinnipiac Athletics coaches supporting me,” she said. “It is fundamental to have people power. Without them, SEAAV would not exist today.”

While at Quinnipiac, Haz was a successful rugby player. Rugby has taught Haz many lessons, with two of them being:

  • When you get hit, you get back up and keep going

  • If you can build a community of people that believe in your mission, you will be successful not only in sports and business, but in life

Haz said she is thankful for the accelerated dual degree program as it made it possible for her to graduate in just three years. She is now part way through her MBA but has taken the opportunity to defer from completing it so she can put 100% of her energy into building SEAAV Athletics.

Haz urges those who want to get into entrepreneurship to “follow your gut; it never fails you and surround yourself with good people.”

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