In a unique internship, three University of Arkansas students are learning the world of ecommerce by running Scrubshopper.com, an online retailer of medical scrubs with over a million dollars of annual revenue.
The business is a portfolio company of Hayseed Ventures, an ecommerce startup lab founded by John James. James originally founded Scrubshopper.com in 2005, and recently re-purchased the assets from Acumen Brands where he served as founder and CEO, eventually raising over $100 million of venture capital.
The students are Tucker Partridge, a Sturgis Fellow and student of the Fulbright College; Ryan Richardson a student of the Walton College of Business; and Nick Beyer, a double major in the Walton College. Working directly with James, the students have vital roles in the company - Partridge runs social media and email marketing, Richardson manages operations, and Beyer serves as the de-facto CEO of the nursing scrubs business.
“After talking to over a hundred local businesses, my team realized there was a tremendous need to develop more ecommerce talent in the area. I approached Dr. Matthew Waller, Dean of the Walton College of Business, with an idea to partner with the University to help fill the gap,” James said. “He was overwhelmingly supportive, so we jumped right in. I’m hopeful that this program will be a small initial step towards a much larger program in cooperation with the University of Arkansas.”
As the first order of business, Beyer modified the mission statement to better reflect the student’s own values:
“We decided that our mission should be to prepare and equip the next generation of leaders in the medical profession by encouraging them to serve others in need,” Beyer said. “Rather than spending money on marketing without a purpose, I suggested that Scrubshopper.com donate a small percentage of revenue to fund medical mission trips.”
With this mission as their compass, the students overhauled the operations of the business, reducing supply chain errors by an order of magnitude and increasing customer satisfaction dramatically:
“We have a lot of work left to do, but we’re proud of what we’ve already accomplished,” says Richardson. “We’ve built a solid foundation for growth, and we’re excited to begin growing revenue.”