We’re glad you’re inspired by how Andrew and Abi (Burrows) Vrbas used resources available at Hastings College and in the community of Hastings to start and grow their dream – Pacha Soap Co.
Learn more on this page about how Hastings College – our faculty, staff, alumni and students – add value to your education and invest in your success.
“Everybody has something to offer and people are willing to help. Just because we are in Hastings, Nebraska, doesn’t mean you can’t have an impact globally or go anywhere in the world,” said Andrew Vrbas ’12, founder of Pacha Soap Co.
As Andrew and Abi began building the business, several Hastings College alumni and Hastings business leaders provided seed money and wisdom. They recognized a good idea and wanted to help it grow.
To help students cultivate their dreams and ideas, Hastings College alumni and friends also support competitive grants for students.
RAISE THE BAR
For Pacha Soap Co., “Raise the Bar” has two meanings.
First, it refers to the production of soap.
Second, it refers to raising the standards for how businesses operate. Abi and Andrew want to make a difference through Pacha Soap Co., not just a profit. They live this through the Buy One, Give One policy. For each bar of soap purchased, another is donated to people in a developing country or a local shelter.
Hastings College faculty seek to raise the bar of what collegiate teaching and learning can be. They encourage students to find ways to do something and to add meaning to their coursework through service learning projects, collaborative research and tailored advising.
We call this level of personal investment in students deliberate mentoring, and it’s an important part of the value Hastings College provides to education.
Abi credits Hastings’ Liberal Arts Program, which facilitates learning across academic disciplines and the College’s student activities, with preparing her for marketing for Pacha Soap Co.
“The liberal arts classes opened my mind to the idea I could do more,” she said. “I learned some of my design and photography skills through activities, including the Collegian [the student-run newspaper].”
Hastings offers more than 100 student organizations through which you can grow your skills portfolio. You can even earn scholarships for activities like journalism, speech/forensics, music, theatre and art.
One of Abi’s (below-left) first contributions to Pacha Soap Co. was making by hand paper wraps for the soap. Through this labor-intensive process, she and Andrew spent many hours together in the Bronco Apartments packaging soap for sale at local farmer’s markets.
“Somewhere along the way, we started dating and as our relationship grew, so did the company,” the 2013 Hastings College graduate said.
Andrew spoke about Pacha Soap Co. during an advertising class Joe Ritzdorf, a 2014 graduate, took. Impressed with Pacha Soap Co.’s mission, Joe asked Andrew for an internship, and Andrew said “yes.”
It was just that simple. Hastings College alumni – old and young – give opportunities to current students because, in many cases, they, too, benefited from Hastings alumni willing to provide an internship or a first job.
Joe threw himself not only into the marketing aspects but also into soap-making and customer relations. He enjoyed the opportunity to build upon his academic foundation by putting his coursework into action.
“In the classroom, everybody has ideas upon ideas, which is great,” said Joe. “It's also great for countless ideas in the work environment, but actually putting them to the test and trying them out is just another step.”
Networking within the Hastings College family provides Hastings students with amazing opportunities to work with entrepreneurs from Andrew and Abi to Fortune 500 executives. Check out some of our great student and alumni stories.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Hastings College and visit us soon. Our faculty and staff are prepared to help you fulfill your potential through a great education, deliberate mentoring and an investment in your success!
Book your campus tour today!