We printed about a hundred or so of these Noomgo brochures and distributed them to parents at a Parent's Weekend in the spring of 2011.

Two friends and I started a custom care package delivery service when we were sophomores at Phillips Exeter Academy, a boarding school in Exeter, NH. The idea behind the service was to allow parents to go to our website and buy snacks for their kids, which we would then fulfill and deliver to Campus Mail with a personal note. We would buy the actual snacks from the local Walgreens or Walmart stores.

I was responsible for the website while Sid worked on the backend and Henry worked on operations and outreach. I created a full eCommerce website using WooCommerce and WordPress. Sid wrote the scripts for scraping inventory from Walmart and Walgreens. I would periodically update the website with the inventory.

Although we distributed a lot of brochures and attempted some word-of-mouth marketing, I don't recall getting many orders from parents. However, we did end up getting one big order for a few hundred water bottles. These bottles were sold exclusively at Walmart at that time but Walmart was out of inventory. After we received the order, it was up to me to fulfill it. It was summer of 2011 and I was interning at UChicago at that time. Henry was in Canada and Sid was interning elsewhere. I spent one full day going from one Walmart store to another throughout Chicago and nearby suburbs. All I could find was two or three bottles. It was at this point that I realized it wasn't going to be possible to operate Noomgo like this. I went ahead and cancelled the order and apologized to the customer.

The biggest technical mistake we made was obviously not keeping our inventory synced up. Another one was not doing enough curation of relevant products for a care package. Ultimately, what failed us was that we just didn't have time to commit to this. When we returned to class in the fall, it was our junior year, which left us with very little time to pursue Noomgo.

In hindsight, Noomgo was ahead of its time. Instacart was founded nearly a year and a half after our stint. We were even recruiting our fellow dormmates and classmates to do the shopping for us. We were just at the wrong place at the right time.

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