As most of us know, college can be a very busy four (or more…) years. I barely have enough time to watch my Netflix queue (while avoiding homework) let alone go to the grocery store. Then there’s the dreaded walk to CVS through what seems like mountains of snow in these upcoming months. Either way, going out to buy the products we need is a hassle.
Three students here at U of M definitely had these thoughts in mind when they decided to start Symplenish. Symplenish is an online business that allows customers to order groceries from candy to candles and have it delivered right to their doorstep. I sat down with the founders: Zach Bruch, Zack Neff and Austin Green to find out more about this simple yet genius idea.
SE: How did you guys come up with the idea for Symplenish?
AG: Zach and Zack came up with the idea for a water delivery service and when Zack told me about it I really wanted to be a part of it. This was last spring, and we knew we wanted a launch by the beginning of this school year. By the summer we decided it could be a full delivery service.
ZN: I was one of the only freshman with a car last year and people were constantly texting me to drive to go get groceries. Zach and I realized that we should create a service that does this for us.
ZB: We saw an opportunity that didn’t exist for our school. It’s winter, it’s snowing… who wants to get in their car or walk when people like us could come and deliver what you need?
SE: So how does Symplenish work?
ZB: Customers create an account online or sign up as a guest and add what they want to their cart, and then every Sunday the items are delivered straight to your doorstep. We have a few different wholesalers that we work with. They send goods to our warehouse and we go every Sunday to pick up and organize the boxes.
AG: As long as you place your order before Sunday, your items are guaranteed to arrive at your door on time.
SE: What would you say is the goal of the business?
ZB: To make the everyday life of students at Michigan easier and more convenient. We realized we could be more than a water business; we are a lifestyle delivery service.
SE: Who are your target customers?
ZN: Students. But we already have a deal with our fraternity to supply for parties, which we are definitely looking to get into with other groups on campus.
SE: How do you decide which products to offer on the website?
AG: We did some research and knew what products students wanted, so we looked for wholesalers and suppliers. We were lucky enough to get a deal with Coca Cola directly, which was huge since they own a lot of companies.
ZB: As always, if there is a product you don’t see on the website, we are open to suggestions.
SE: How did you decide on prices?
ZB: We are very competitive with major retailers. We’re just trying to make it easy for students, we’re not necessarily competing we just want to give students what they want. We want to make profits and stay competitive.
AG: We like to think that if you walk into Walgreens or CVS our stuff will be the same price, but delivered without a shipping charge.
SE: How do you think the business is doing so far?
ZB: We officially launched during welcome week. Every week we gain more and more customers. We have meetings each week to set goals, and so far we’ve been able to meet them. We hope to grow more, and we know we’ll grow more.
AG: We started off with a limited company, only selling to people we knew. At the beginning of last month we made the website available to everyone, when we got that huge jump we were ready to handle large quantities of orders.
SE: Are there any plans for expansion?
AG: We have big plans here at Michigan. We want to implement it [the website] so people pay a monthly cost and have a certain sized box to fill so there isn’t a need to charge their credit card every time they place an order.
ZN: We are adapting as we grow; maybe one day we’ll have an app. Our plans will change with the growing demand.
ZB: We’ve learned that every small step counts. We have a week by week plan. The big goal is it will just take some time.
SE: Anything else you’d like to add for the readers?
ZB: Sign up for Symplenish today!
Well, you heard the man.