Alumni Profile: James + James
Alum James Smith talks about how he has used his degree from JBU in his start-up furniture manufacturing business.
James Smith: Welcome to James & James, my name is James Smith, and I build furniture for a living. Let me show you around. I graduated from JBU in 2009 with a degree in marketing and a minor in digital media arts. James and James is a furniture company that James and I started out of our garage in Rogers, Arkansas. My roll in the day to day in the company is a lot of the marketing- just working on our web properties- making sure those are maintained. The other half of my responsibilities is a lot of the finances of the business making sure that we have cash flow when we need it and making sure that all the money is being accounted for, and that sales tax is being paid and all those other things. Every day I use stuff that I learned during my business degree at JBU to help grow the business. From very basic marketing concepts I learned in my marketing classes; to complex excel sheet formulas to make finances easier to track. So, over here is the build side. All of our furniture is built from solid wood. So, the wood will get loaded in over here from the mill and the guys will pick from that- depending on what they’re building- the different sizes that they need and take it over to one of the saws over there to cut it to size. After that, they will bring it over to one of the build areas and assemble it into a table top, a bed, headboard, end tables or whatever it is they’re working on that day. Something we just started doing since we launched shipping is tracking where all of our shipments go to. We opened up shipping in April and we are already in 30 different states and are looking forward to being able to put the pin up on the last state, whenever that happens. One of the best the things about John Brown University’s Marketing program is that they really focus on real-world experience. There were several times in my classes where they would bring in a small business owner from the community and we would work to put together a marketing plan for them. And then having professors that haven’t been in academia their whole life- we have a lot of people that have gone out and started businesses and have been working in the industry that they’re teaching in and I think that makes the education they are able to provide that much more valuable. When I meet with business leaders around this community, and even outside of northwest Arkansas, John Brown University students are highly sought out from what I’ve seen. Because people know that they’re hard workers and that they have high ethical standards. The experience that you get at JBU is something that I don’t think you will find anywhere else.