UConn junior Jack Tarca ’22 (BUS) was looking to do something positive last April as the COVID-19 pandemic began to take over the lives and minds of people throughout the world.
With that thought, and the entrepreneurial spirit he has always felt, Tarca created a website and social media channels called “No Bad Days” – a lifestyle brand that promotes mental health and well-being.
“We are still relatively small, but I have a pretty good idea of where I want it to go and build it,” says Tarca, a native of Hebron, who is a business management major with a focus in entrepreneurship and a minor in real estate.
The website has a blog promoting positivity, and is written by fellow UConn student Sara Adamson ‘23 (CLAS), a native of Glastonbury. An example of a recent entry is “Spreading Kindness,” which recommends acts like listening more attentively, holding the door for someone, waving to people, and saying thank you to someone who often goes unnoticed. There were also acts to do for oneself — such as a “digital detox” or giving yourself compliments.
“I felt like people were getting down and I wanted to make some content over the summer,” says Tarca. “I had this mantra of ‘no bad days’ and I started saying it over and over again and it has helped me get through the pandemic.”
Tarca says he has struggled with mental health issues in his life. “It’s nothing overly serious, but looking back on it, I have found it has affected more than I knew at the time,” he says.
Tarca grew up playing youth and prep school hockey, and is a member of the UConn club hockey team.
“With my background in sports, I knew multiple kids who have struggles with mental health due to the effect of sports, especially after concussions,” he says. “It is something that has affected myself, kids I know and family members.”
Tarca has also developed a product line for “No Bad Days,” and that is where his entrepreneurship kicks in.
“At first we made one style of a T-shirt and it had a great response,” he says. “A lot of people opened up and shared that they related to it. They liked that you could wear a piece of clothing that speaks to the mantra.”
“No Bad Days” donates 15% of all proceeds to Mental Health America, the leading community-based nonprofit organization in the country that addresses the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the mental health of all.
Hats, mugs, long sleeve T-shirts, and sweatshirts have been added to the product line, and Tarca does all the photography for the web store.
“I’d like to do more product and I’d like to have more people writing,” Tarca says as he looks to the future. “The biggest goals are to create an audience and build a bigger community so that it is more than just a brand, and more than just the clothing.”
Tarca would like to host in-person lifestyle events once the COVID-19 pandemic behind the world.
“I would like to bring in ten to 15 guest speakers that come in and talk about different facets of mental health depending on what their expertise is,” he says.
Tarca makes a point of clarifying that he is not a mental health professional or expert.
“You do have to be careful about what you are saying because it is a fairly fragile subject,” he says. “My goal is to make the conversation more open and make mental health cool and decrease the stigma that it has.”
Tarca says his UConn classroom work has helped him in this venture, and in his other entrepreneurial effort – a car detailing business called Just Jack’s Auto Detailing in his hometown.
He credits classes taught by Director of the Innovation Quest Program Richard Dino and assistant professor in management Ryan Coles as particularly influential on him.
“Their classes were super helpful in showing all the different steps and components of building a business,” says Tarca. “The work is never going to be done, and there will always be different turns that need to be made and you have to experiment with different parts.”
Tarca hopes to keep “No Bad Days” going past his college graduation, whether as his full-time job or something he does on the side.
“I think we would need to do events to make it full-time,” says Tarca. “We could sell ads on the website. We could have more articles on mental wellbeing, exercise, fitness, and nutrition. Everyone could have his or her own niche thing.
“It can go as far as it lets me – right now the focus is building it.”