Discovering the Product for You with the Help of Bulu Box
After recently completing the San Francisco marathon, University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduates Paul and Stephanie Jarrett developed an idea for a vitamin supplement sampling company.
As Paul Jarrett finished the marathon, he was approached from various companies giving away free samples to the runners.
“I thought it was pretty interesting that nobody was taking down our information, (not even) our e-mail,” Jarrett said.
Being handed endless samples of nutritional supplements sparked an idea for the Jarretts.
“We got back home and (recalled) a recent company called Birch Box. They do a similar thing that we do but only with makeup,” Paul Jarrett said.
Inspired partly by the race and Birch Box, Jarrett wanted to make his idea of a vitamin and supplement sample box happen.
“Everything came together,” he said.
Bulu Box helps individuals discover a product that fits their needs. The company is centered on those seeking natural performance vitamins and supplements to improve daily routines. Some of the products help increase energy or improve sleep, for example.
“We want people to discover what works for them,” Jarrett said.
Sampling all of the different types, forms and brands of vitamins and supplements to find the right product is the main focus of Bulu Box.
“People can try before they buy,” Jarrett said.
If the client likes a particular product in the sample size, he or she can purchase the full size of that product on the Bulu Box website.
Jarrett graduated with a journalism degree from UNL. He has experience working at small and large advertising agencies. He worked for Nebraska Book Company, where he and a few others launched Neebo.
Jarrett went on to work for Complete Nutrition in Omaha, as vice president of marketing for the company’s website. There he observed how to build a company.
“I was bit by the entrepreneur bug,” he said. “I was inspired after my time (at Complete Nutrition) to go and pursue my own thing.”
Upon moving to San Francisco, Jarrett observed how start-up company ideas were contagious and spreading quickly through the area.
Jarrett’s wife, Stephanie, has experience in advertising and marketing, a resourceful asset to any company, especially a new start-up.
“We both had jobs,” Paul Jarrett said. “I jumped off full-time into this.” Stephanie Jarrett soon joined the business full-time along with her husband.
With Jarrett’s connection to Complete Nutrition, he was able to reach out to companies he had known and let them know of his new venture so those companies could start sending product samples.
“We don’t tell people what’s coming in the box, we want them to open it up, be surprised and discover something new,” Jarrett said.
Consumer feedback through surveys sent out by the company help Jarrett learn which types of supplements are in high demand.
In the vitamin and supplement industry, companies that do not have a large budget for advertising use sampling as a means to make consumers aware and try their product.
“We are an avenue for companies to get products in qualified users’ hands,” Jarrett said.
Moving back to Lincoln from San Francisco was a step in the right direction for Bulu Box.
“One of the reasons that you become an entrepreneur is to be a part of something new, start something new,” Jarrett said. “In San Francisco we were just another startup, whereas here (in Lincoln) we were able to be a start-up in a start-up scene (and) help create the atmosphere. Why not create the atmosphere instead of going to other cities?”
The Jarretts have established a strong team foundation at Bulu Box.
“Building a successful team and meeting goals set in a business plan are important,” Stephanie Jarrett said.
“We could not be where we’re at without the team that we have,” Paul Jarrett said. “Keep moving forward, don’t be afraid to ask for help and be ‘transparent’ with investors… because it will only help.”
Not only did Jarrett learn about structural parts of the business from his time working for Complete Nutrition, but he was instilled with the notion of being fearless.
“You will get in trouble faster for not trying something than to just try something,” he said.