National Beat Reporter
Red flags fall across Del Playa balconies and logo stickers plaster street signs and store windows. The student-run delivery service Snag has become an Isla Vista (I.V.) staple.
Snag is a 10-minute, eco-friendly delivery service for I.V. residents. Anyone within the I.V. radius can order groceries, drinks, household essentials, and more for zero delivery fee, scootered to their door within minutes of ordering.
UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) juniors, Mason Cohen and Jacob Duijser, had the idea for Snag in October of 2020 and began building their business in October. The two founders originally just wanted to see if it was possible to start a 10-minute delivery service within I.V., so they took the starting leap.
Snag began on a beta website with little marketing other than through word-of-mouth. The company gained popularity throughout UCSB’s winter quarter. After the launch of their app at the beginning of spring quarter, business has boomed.
“Jacob and I had always envisioned a three-step process where customers could just go on the app, check out what they wanted and have it delivered to their door before they could even walk to the store,” Cohen said. “A lot of people have really enjoyed that and are reflecting back by loving Snag. A lot of our employees are hearing praise yelled out when they drive; we’ve had an enormous amount of support which is pretty cool.”
Cohen and Duijser have built their business model around the I.V. community. Their employees are all locally based and their delivery services are catered to what surrounding students want.
“I think we’re a unique business, we’re obviously a start-up so it’s an interesting environment that people want to be a part of. We are students ourselves, so we understand where other students are coming from and work with their schedules and their lives, which is something people appreciate,” Cohen said.
Snag has become a popular workplace for many I.V. locals not only due to the short commute and fun environment, but also because of the generous employee wages. Hourly pay ranges from $17 an hour during weekdays hours from 12 p.m. through 9 p.m., to $23 an hour on weekends between 9 p.m. through 1 a.m.
“It’s pretty short shifts, but we do want people to be working hard,” Duijser said. “To a certain extent, it’s a high-stress environment working so quickly. To get everything done in 10 minutes, it takes everyone’s maximum effort, so we try to meet that with the pay.”
Snag, however, is not the only 10-minute delivery service in Isla Vista. Duffl, a similar delivery service established in LA, recently began operations in I.V. on May 4, posing some competition for Snag.
However, according to Cohen and Duijser, this has actually brought a spike in business.
The “competition” between Duffl and Snag came to the Snag founders’ attention through posts on local social media sites such as @UCSBBarstool. Duijser said that this attention created publicity marketing effects as everyone in I.V. became intrigued by trying out both services. However, since Duffl had been established for longer, Snag had to work hard to maintain its market.
“We had to buckle down. The whole company had to look in the mirror and reflect, and ask what we really wanted to do here. How did we want to market ourselves, what is our company identity, what is our culture? We had to figure those out pretty quickly, so it was a challenging time,” Duijser said.
However, both Cohen and Duijser emphasized that they saw how the customers were benefiting, and wanted to continue to cater to their community’s needs.
“We offer this service that very few campuses have, so that kind of comes back to we’re sticking with what we’re doing. We’re from here, we built this here, and I think we have a good [gauge] of what people want here,” Cohen said. “And of course, we’re listening to their feedback every day, whether that’s the products people want or different organizations people want to collaborate with.”
The future of Snag is only looking up for Cohen and Duijser. Both are fully committed to growing their business, excited with their progress but ready to continue improving through the next year.
“This is going to be the future of shopping. Hopefully we can be at the forefront of that in some way on the small scale that we’ve been doing things at,” Duijser said. “We’ve laid groundwork for the revolution of shopping.”