Customised Products

Making Customised Products for a School Venture

To many, entrepreneurship is a 21st-century survival skill that children must become familiar with to reap the benefits from the experiential learning it offers. Many schools offer students the opportunity to engage in running their own business to in still the skills of collaboration and cooperation that can lead to success. Leading the participants through the business creation process will allow them to gain experience and perspective to create their own opportunities.

Whether as a classroom project or a club or youth group activity, during the project, you are also a learner honing your skills sharp as well. Asking for opinions and ideas from participants will help in the creative process. One project that offers the potential for business success and that allows all to bring their creativity to the forefront is designing, creating, marketing and selling heat transfer vinyl novelties. You can make these, not only for schoolmates, but also customised products for individuals and businesses.

This project will give participants different roles in the business process, such as research, marketing, sales, and planning. Not having or providing all the needed information will help team members develop and experience using the needed skills. Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) is a vinyl used to create designs and comes in sheets and rolls. Your business can start with sheets and scale up to rolls. It has an adhesive backing that participants can cut out designs and apply them to a variety of products. It comes in a variety of colors, designs and effects such as sparkly and glow in the dark. Participants will find a variety of examples on the Coastal Business Supplies website, as well as products to purchase when the time comes to scale up.

Since this is the start-up phase and the goal is to keep cost low and reinvest much of the profit back into the business for upgrades and improvements to the business process, finding the best prices for materials and equipment is also important. After stocking the vinyl needed, the participants could sell their designs as iron-on decals with the instructions for application packaged with each decal. Their designs can be ironed on to book and tote bags, tee shirts, jackets and hoodies, cushions,  and pillows and most cloth items. Ideas for designs to sell could be sports teams, custom personalised names and slogans, and logos for businesses and clubs, as well as designs created by the participants.

Since the experiential learning is the most important aspect of this entrepreneurial activity, shortcuts about how to achieve without putting in effort should not be used. Tutorials and guides that provide instructions and help participants learn tips and tricks are more valuable. The Internet will be very valuable for this project. Participants can be divided into teams with one team working on the business plan. There are even templates that can guide them through the process. Each team will tell their business partners how they came to their decisions and hear the feedback of other team members.

Another team of participants can find great deals on tee shirts, caps, headbands and other products to iron the heat press vinyl designs on as products offered for sale. Wearing products that the business create is great marketing. Participants can ask local businesses to show their support by buying tee shirts for their business and employees. The cheerleading squad may want headbands with the school mascot on school colors. The book club may buy book covers and bags to identify themselves as club members. Of course, funny saying or shared sentiment may attract others. Gaming references are also a way people share their interest and identify themselves as online multimedia gamers.

The school website and bulletin, school and club bulletin boards, and even the local paper and other media should have a spot to promote the entrepreneurial efforts and learning taking place. Each season and holiday offer more opportunities for more designs for both products and decals. It may take time, but soon your business may be able to afford not only a press and cutting equipment for your business but an oven that will allow your business to offer cups, plates and other novelty items. The next year’s entrepreneur participants will have less of the ground floor opportunity but will work on the continual improvement processes that make a business great. Each year a new group of participants will learn the life skills of the 21st century, entrepreneurship and perhaps create new and much-needed innovations.

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