WCU Students Staff New E-Commerce Site Created by Adjunct Professor

Image via West Chester University.

Small businesses suffered during the pandemic but a new online platform — staffed by recent West Chester University grads and students — is now available to help small artisan businesses in the Greater Philadelphia region market their products virtually. 

NazBi launched in late May. It’s the brainchild of Komeil Nasrollahi, business engagement manager for the Chester County Economic Development Council, who teaches in WCU’s College of Business and Public Management. 

“During my time as a WCU faculty member, I’ve met a handful of students who truly exceeded my expectations of young adults,” said Nasrollah, who recruited those students to help launch NazBi. 

Danielle King said Nasrollahi called her in January. She’s NazBi’s social media manager.

“To be able to stay in West Chester after college, to live and work here and enjoy this amazing community is a dream come true,” she said. “But what is even better is that I get to be part of a team whose sole purpose is to bring value to our local community and to support the shops and the town that we all know and love.”

King earned her bachelor’s degree in International Business with a minor in Spanish in May 2020 and has been working full time since November for a West Chester-based healthcare company as its Vice President of operations, marketing, and pharmaceuticals. 

All the positions at NazBi are volunteer.

“This company was established to help others and to help the positive growth of our community,” said King. “We like to say that NazBi was made local, for local, and it could not be more true. Our mission is to make #shopsmall more than just a hashtag, to make it a true community initiative.”

The company’s slogan: Go Buy Where You Go By!

“NazBi is a great opportunity for me to give back to the community I grew up in,” said Joey Wikol, who earned his bachelor’s degree this year in Professional Studies with minors in International Business, Applied Statistics, and Psychology. “I am in charge of outreach so I have conversations with Chester County’s small business owners about how NazBi can promote selling their products locally. It’s inspiring and energizing.” 

Nasrollahi reports that approximately 35 artisan businesses have become partners so far. All are small and local, some are home-based, and many are women-owned businesses.

The marketing team provides all the e-commerce support for partners, creates their personalized web page, including photography and videography, and positions their products and brands on NazBi’s website and social media. NazBi is designed to be easy to use, convenient, and efficient for all parties, charging 7.5 percent on transactions. Unlike other platforms such as Etsy, there are no hidden fees for retailers or buyers. 

“These are stories about our creative neighbors,” said Nasrollahi. He envisioned NazBi as a place for the region’s artisans to connect easily with their neighbors and for buyers to conveniently support their favorite neighborhood small businesses.

Braedon Swindler ensures user-friendliness as online platform operations manager, while working full time as a digital marketing division lead at a local tech consulting company.

His own efforts in working to bring a business idea from concept to company, using the resources of WCU’s Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center, brought him into digital marketing, including website development, analytics tracking, and omnichannel customer journey development.

He said he “thought that it was slightly ironic that my first business venture was driven to a halt due to not having a tech guy, but now, here I am, working as a tech guy!” 

Swindler earned both his bachelor’s degree in International Business (2020) and his master’s degree (2021) in just four years at WCU by accelerating both programs.

Giana Reno, a 2021 WCU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Media, interned with NazBi this spring during the final semester of her senior year and is now its content creation manager. The concept, the team, and its company values convinced her to stay with NazBi, “watching more and more people get excited about what we’re doing.” 

Rising senior Kylie Hayward joined NazBi in April as a social media and content creation intern. In that short time, she has recognized how the team’s passion and NazBi’s goals benefit small businesses in West Chester and beyond: “I hope we can help everyone recognize how important it is to shop local and what it means for our community.” 

Eventually, Nasrollahi expects to launch NazBi platforms in other cities across the country.

For more information, e-mail customerservice@nazbi.com

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