Neenah Alumnus’s Inspirational Clothing Brand Brings Smiles to N.J.S.D. Staff Raffle Winners


Photo provided by Smile Big’s Instagram.

Ashlyn Jacobs, Editor in Chief

Neenah alumnus Chance Pronschinske’s clothing company, Smile Big, provided prizes for N.J.S.D.’s Jan. 22 virtual staff raffle in place of the usual donations from local businesses.

Chance Pronschinske started Smile Big as a junior at NHS, Chas Pronschinske, health teacher and Chance’s father, said. “He just wanted to bring a smile to people’s faces.”

The clothing company’s website, their main platform for sales, displays an array of t-shirts, crewnecks, sweatshirts and accessories bearing the Smile Big logo, or the more recently released slogan: “Your smile is contagious.”

Chance Pronschinske started the company at 17 with a vision of creating “comfortable products that bear inspirational messages” when he went through a series of tough changes in high school, according to his website. Now their brand brings smiles to people in all 50 states.

Pronschinske’s creations have accumulated a following here in his hometown, too. Scheels began selling Smile Big clothing in June 2020, and many of the pieces make appearances around the high school. Teachers and students sport the grinning garments proudly. When Superintendent Dr. Pfeiffer announced Smile Big would contribute this winter’s raffle prizes, district staff expressed delight. 

Students likewise enjoy wearing the clothing, and not only because they are cozy and attractive. Smile Big also donates an Everyday t-shirt to a children’s hospital patient for every one purchase of the popular t-shirt. This makes customers all the more eager to support the brand. 

“I’m buying it knowing they’re giving back to other people, and it’s something I’m going to enjoy wearing,” sophomore Parker DeDeker said. 

To kickstart his initiative as a young entrepreneur, Chance Pronschinske took advantage of free resources such as social media, websites and high school business classes in learning his trade. “He took a huge risk” by investing in his ideas, Chas Pronschinske said, but it has paid off. 

Chance’s older brother, also a Neenah alumnus, now works in marketing for the company. What started as a seed of an idea borne of one teenager’s personal trials blossomed into a flourishing family business. 

His advice for other young people aspiring to entrepreneurship: “Don’t be afraid to fail.”