PHS class creates, markets, sells products
by Colleen Surridge
Oct 10, 2011 | 1255 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The first day of class for students participating in Jane Posch's entrepreneurship course at Parsons High School consisted of coming up with an idea for a small business.

Their idea would be more than a concept for a business; it had to be one they could actually plan, implement, operate, grow and profit from during the school year with a startup budget of $28.

"We created a business. The name of it is Norse Gear and our logo is 'Shift into Norse Gear,'" said company CEO/public relations director Danica Hoose. "Our teacher asked us the first day of school what we would like to do for a business. After a lot of discussion, we decided to create a store selling a variety of items to support Viking spirit. Gabe (Nehrbass) came up with the name, and we came up with and agreed on a logo to go with it. ... We decided to sell T-shirts, bracelets, dog tags, vinyls and personalized bumper stickers with sports they do, and closer to Christmas to have personalized Christmas ornaments."

The second thing Posch asked her students is if they wanted to sell stock in the company and make a profit from it or if they wanted to donate the profits.

The students decided to donate profits to Stella Wells, the local non-profit organization that provides Christmas food baskets and toys to needy families and individuals, Hoose said.

Each of the eight students was assigned a position and voted for their company CEO and went to work.

Nehrbass was assigned research and tasked with determining what products were most popular, affordable and likely to sell among the student population and the community.

Chelsey Ford and Colt Nush were given the positions of designing the products.

With $28 to begin their business, the students had to decide on a means to generate money to purchase their inventory items.

With permission from school administration, the company sold the rights for students to be able to wear a hat to school for one day. To wear a hat would cost the student $1.

"That was very popular," said secretary Colton Ferrier.

"We raised over $100," added finance manager Treven Magner.

PK All Day Norse Gear T-shirts and the vinyls were their primary focus to begin marketing and promoting their business.

"Our first sales item was T-shirts in September," promotion and marketing director Marissa DeMeritt said.

With limited funds still to purchase inventory, Hoose said they decided to pre-sell the T-shirts before ordering them.

Nush and DeMeritt said they promoted the products by wearing them themselves, spurring advertising by word of mouth. In addition, order forms for T-Shirts were distributed to all the schools, and numerous local businesses, distribution manager Josh Daniels said.

With the money acquired from the sales of the shirts, the students then purchased vinyls and then the bracelets and dog tags.

"Our last item will be the personalized Christmas ornaments. Dec. 3 is the final day for our ornaments and our sales. Then we will donate the profits shortly after that," Hoose said.

Having begun with $28, the students said they are proud of the success of their small business, which has been operating since September.

"It's going really good," Farrier said. "We're finding it is doing better than we ever thought it would. We never imagined we would be where we are now."

Where they are now, Hoose said, is, "if we were to donate the profits right now, we'd have about $1,200."

In choosing where to donate their profits, Daniels said first and foremost they want to keep the donation local.

"We've all loved the story of Stella Wells and how it got started, from just one person helping another," Hoose said.

"I think it's really a worthwhile cause," DeMeritt added.

With sales of T-shirts and bracelets nearing an end, the students are reaching out to those in the community who may not have heard about their company by marketing through media.

"For our T-shirts, we have extra forms in the office here at the high school that can be picked up between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. and they can come to room 205 if they are interested in the bracelets. We will also be selling them at as many of the home games as Mr. Graves will allow us to," Hoose said. "The deadline for ordering T-shirts is Oct. 14. We will be calling people to come pick them up on Oct. 25. The tees cost $10, and the bracelets are $3.

Hoose said she encourages people to make the investment in their products, as they serve a dual function: "They are a way for people to show their Viking spirit, especially on Blue and Gold Fridays, and it's also for a good cause."

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