Kamri Cordero and Audrey Tran have always been fond of the outdoors, and today they funnel that passion into a growing business that helps people keep a little piece of the wild with them always.
Roaming Heart is a Utah-based, online company that produces stickers, apparel and other memorabilia inspired by the great outdoors. Put in their own words, Roaming Heart is a “community of adventure-seekers, nature lovers and inspired individuals seeking to live their life in meaningful ways.”
The business was created by Cordero and Tran in 2019 with the mission of inspiring people to get outside, experience nature and discover their unique purpose. Each product is crafted with passion, aiming to capture the essence of the wild and the special feelings that nature has to offer.
The pair grew up in the Salt Lake Valley, where they became best friends in high school in 2014. The two engaged in lots of hiking and biking together, as well as kayaking, caving, rock climbing and rafting. Cordero began studying strategic communication while Tran studied hotel, resort and hospitality management in 2017 when they both came to Southern Utah University.
A major reason they decided to attend SUU was due to its established branding of being the most outdoorsy school in the nation, so when they arrived in Cedar City, they spent every weekend exploring the outdoors in its vicinity. Both graduated in April 2020 with outdoor recreation in parks and tourism minors.
“The outdoors are natural medicine for me. I feel so much peace and calm when I can go outside and get some fresh air,” said Cordero. “There is so much beauty in being outside and experiencing all it has to offer. The outdoors are quite literally magical, and if you sit there long enough, you begin to see more of that magic.”
It was this very magic that the friends spent so much of their time chasing during their time at SUU. While they loved their classes — one of which was about graphic design — and university events, the highlights of their three years in Cedar City were their outdoor explorations. They looked forward to their weekend road trips, on which they would collect stickers from places visited to remember them by.
There were times, however, when stickers were unavailable or the art on those that were was just not what the friends were looking for. Their solution: create their own.
“We decided to start making our own designs inspired by the places that we roamed,” Cordero remembered. “It started with a lot of desert landscapes, and then we got into state stickers, wildflowers, niche stickers like rock climbing and skiing, all because of those road trips and that time at SUU that we got to explore and get outside.”
When a friend in SUU’s Sustainability Club approached them with an opportunity to sell some of their stickers at a club-held “Bargain Bash” in the spring of 2019, they agreed. They gathered some of their designs, set up a booth and ended up making over $300 in an hour. That is when they decided to begin marketing their talents.
“We worked between sketches in sketchbooks or doodles in class and newfound graphic design skills to make our first 20 sticker designs, two shirt designs and a hat to prepare for our debut event,” Tran recalled. “The student body reacted so positively, and we almost sold out of some of our sticker designs that first day. From then on became the birth and slow growth of Roaming Heart, whose first loyal fans and customers were kindred-spirited SUU students.”
They have since expanded their range of products to include hats, hoodies, pins, patches, keychains and more, all inspired by their travels. From traveling to new places whenever they need to spark the next line of designs, Cordero and Tran have products representing coasts, canyons, deserts, mountains and every place in between. Cordero’s personal favorite line, which happens to be their biggest and most memorable, is the “Scenic Route Collection,” a compilation of designs inspired by a 10-day road trip through Alaska.
The future of the company looks bright. Initially crafting each product painstakingly by hand, they now have over 8,000 sales, 3,400 followers on Instagram, @roamingheart, and have shipped their products to every state in the U.S. They have shared their products and story with thousands of people at conferences, conventions, markets and events all across Utah and Arizona. Their products can be found in gift shops and national parks throughout the country.
Tran remembers being told at an entrepreneurship conference that their idea would never be profitable, but as the pair learn more about running a business each day, they look forward to fulfilling some big dreams for Roaming Heart.
“We have always had the hope that Roaming Heart would become more of a community than just a company,” said Tran. “As a community of adventurers, we feel we have a responsibility to be good stewards over the natural places wherein we adventure.”
One major goal for the two is to someday create a nonprofit or similar organization that will help them give back to the outdoors. They also hope to open an outdoor sanctuary that allows people to learn about the outdoors in a safe, motivational environment.
“A big impact that I have noticed from running Roaming Heart is that our communities seem a lot more grateful for the outdoors and aware of the effects they have on it. We share a lot about leaving no trace and what you can do to help,” Cordero said. “It’s super cool to take that knowledge we gained from our outdoor recreation minors and share it so in turn the whole community is staying educated about the outdoors and their effects.”
Tran is currently serving a mission in Vietnam for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, leaving Cordero temporarily operating Roaming Heart alone, but she remains optimistic about the company and what it is doing.
The business released its Halloween line in October, and Cordero looks forward to what is in store next — a potential June 2023 summer launch. Roaming Heart products can be found at roamingheart.co.
“We love hearing how our art is part of people’s adventures, their gifts and connections to others, their memories of their greatest adventures,” Tran said. “We love seeing how Roaming Heart truly has inspired people to go live their adventures and leave the people and places around them better.”
Story by: Jared Clawson
Photos courtesy of Kamri Cordero
This article was originally published in the December 2022 edition of the University Journal. Pick up a free copy at any of the stands on the SUU campus.