Helena Dweck ’20 found her semester in Italy unexpectedly cut short.
After one month of her education abroad program, the global spread of COVID-19 meant she needed to leave Florence and head home.
When she got there, she came to another disappointing realization. Physical distancing and self-quarantine precautions meant she couldn’t hug her friends or family.
“I began telling them, ‘I am giving you an air hug.’ It was a simple way of showing affection without touch,” she shared. “It brought a smile to my loved ones’ faces.”
From that simple gesture, a venture was born.
The desire to send love without touch, and bring positivity in a time or turmoil, led Dweck to launch AirHugger. Via a website and Instagram, the company sells pins and apparel that make it easier to show love while physically distancing.
When physical distancing precautions from coronavirus are lifted, AirHugger products are a way to send a message of warmth in any circumstance.
“Leaving Italy was bittersweet,” she says. “I had to depart from an amazing semester abroad, but leaving allowed me to launch this business idea.”
Dweck, who will graduate this August, credits her Babson education with her ability to quickly take action. “Being surrounded by so many entrepreneurs, I believed I was capable of doing it, too.”