Education collides with real-world business experience in the Chestatee Marketplace.
“We’re really excited about it,” teacher Mary Anne Collier said. “Some of them have really taken it and just run with it, and have really found kind of their niche.”
Chestatee High School sophomores opened their businesses in the bazaar at the school Monday evening, welcoming their friends and family members to peruse products ranging from T-shirts to coffee mugs to lanyards.
The honors business and technology students were responsible for every aspect of their small businesses, from developing a plan to creating the designs for the products.
“The first thing they did was determine their name and their logo,” Collier said. “We wanted it to be, for the most part, not necessarily completely tied to the product that they sell.”
The student groups separated themselves into chief executive officers, chief financial officers, graphic designers, marketing specialists and marketing directors.
“They each obviously play different roles,” Collier said. “We’ve been (working) probably since November ... on this.”
MacKenzie Boerger was promoting customized gifts through her business, You-nique.
“What we’re selling is mugs, ornaments and bracelets,” she said. “We started this project right before Christmas, so we started with ornaments because we figured with the upcoming Christmas season, they would take off.”
The mugs, though, are a popular seller. Boerger, CEO of the business, is especially proud of the “Brownie in a Mug,” with the recipe for a brownie printed on the back of a mug.
“You can make your individual brownie, and use it over and over again,” she said.
Shoppers were enthusiastic about the merchandise.
“There are several things that would be practical in there, like the mugs and so forth,” Lyman Martin said. “They were very nice.”
Martin and his wife, Ruth, were there to support their grandson.
Next to You-nique was Talon Fabrications.
“We can take shirts that are either 100 percent polyester or 100 percent cotton,” said CEO Amber Brock. “You can either use designs out of a template book, or we can design them ourselves and we can press it for you.”
Brock and her team were selling the T-shirts for $10-$17, depending on the design and style. A portion of their proceeds goes to Eagle Ranch Children’s Home.
“We just liked what they’ve done,” Brock said.
The groups picked various charities to receive 15 percent of the proceeds. The rest of any money earned gets invested back into the business.
Coming up next is an online store component, where the student-created products will be available for purchase. Teacher Sue Matthews said she expects the website to be live within the next couple of weeks, accessible via the school’s website at hallco.org/chs.
The students will also pitch their products to Eagle Eye Graphics, a student-run business based within Chestatee and sponsor of Monday’s event.
“I believe that if I’m going to teach kids about small business, that we should be able to teach by doing and running versus reading about it out of a book and memorizing vocabulary words,” Matthews said.