xThe Venture Team Edit
Triple J consists of three young entrepreneurs who are all senior Management majors at James Madison University:
J Keagy Edit
Adventure seeking lover of America, Shirts and Operation Smile from Chantilly, VA
Josh Morrow Edit
Car and Chair enthusiast from Fredericksburg, VA
Julie Rooney Edit
Homebrewer, Baker and Dog-Lover from Massapequa, NY
The team met up with some great ideas. We were going to sell JMU Yoga Pants. Unfortuntately, we found out that the Bookstore already sells many different kinds of JMU yoga pants. We considered making sorority yoga pants but many have rules that the letters cannot be lower than the waist. So it was back to square one. We came up with decorative shadowboxes, JMU tree ornaments, a car chair and dog treats. Most were not cost effective but we did want to diversify and therefore we moved forward on the car chair and dog treats.
Duke Dog SnacksEdit
The first hurdle for the dog treats was that they are technically related to alcohol. During the production of beer, grain is steeped, similar to tea, to extract the sugars. The liquid is then boiled and hops are added, depending on the style, and then the yeast. After some period of time, alcohol is created. Meanwhile, the spent grain is waste. Julie has made dog treats in the past for her own dog using peanut butter, eggs and flour. Professor Wales gave us the green light so we started the project. Julie brewed a small one-gallon batch and they used those grains to make the MVP. Before the treats were even packaged, we spoke to Betsy O'Brien, tap manager of Three Notch'd brewery and she was interested in not only buying the product from us, but also giving us their grains on brew day. They wanted to differentiate themselves in the market by allowing dogs in the taproom. They also had a need for disposal of their waste. They had been bagging up the grain to use for composting for farmers, but the farmers wouldn't come to pick them up. With this supply and customers set up, we then moved forward on packaging and marketing. We originally had packaged the treats with twine and a card, but customers requested them to be in bags so they stayed together better and kept longer. Other than Three Notch'd, we sold wholesale to Sylvia's pet store. We also sold at retail price to friends and family. Our customers were not only very interested in the beer aspect, but also in the lack of ingredients. We advertised with the fact that humans can eat them too. An online marketplace was set up, but that was a failure as no orders were placed. We also launched a social media campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If customers tagged #dukedogsnacks on a picture of their pup, they could win treats. We did receive one tag. This venture is going to be continued into the next semester.
Key Innovations: recycled resources, partnering with local small businesses, using social media
Key Innovations: recycled resources, new product, cheap raw materials
JMU America ShirtEditKathy from Campus Customs but we were able to negotiate the cost down because it was a reprint. We also learned from previous delaings with Kathy that we should count out the shirts while we were there, but none were missing. The 9 long sleeves sold out almost instantly, so we ordered 20 more and also 30 more short sleeves. We worked out a deal with the bookstore so the short sleeves are now sold there but we were also able to sell them on campus separately. We sold the shirts on the commons and in Showker and once again sold out of all long sleeves and most of the short sleeves. To advertise, we used facebook and snapchat. We received a lot of customer base from the JMU ROTC. Many shirts were also bought as Christmas presents. This venture will also be continued in the next semester.
Key Innovations: partnering with JMU Bookstore, negotiated to be able to sell on campus
We learned many lessons this semester. From our dog treats, we learned that even though there was little to no cost, our profit could not fair well against the other teams if our prices were so low. We also learned that our time and effort is another limited resource and therefore we could not produce as many products as we could have liked. Our greatest achievement was diversifying our products so that if one venture failed, we had another, and in this case 2 others, to support our costs. We were also able to quickly develop an mvp and had complete control over the supply of dog treats, meaning more time selling and less time waiting for others.