It’s hard to believe our relationship with the Hamilton Southeastern Fan Stand is going on three years. It seems like only yesterday we were discussing the ideal webstore and fantasizing about how much money we could raise for the students at HSE.
Today, the Fan Stand – a student run school spirit shop – has turned into the kind of serious revenue generating business that many colleges would envy. They do almost $30,000 in online sales alone each year, and almost $200,000 in retail sales in their physical store, a converted concession stand within the school.
I asked Anna Stumpf – Fan Stand coordinator, teacher, partner, and fellow trouble-maker – to share some client perspective as we begin working on their orders for Fall 2011. In the coming weeks, we will feature stories from Mrs. Stumpf and her students to give some insight on how the process of creating a successful spiritwear program works.
Our first installment is from Mrs. Stumpf: The mastermind behind this program and whose ingenuity has made a business run by a bunch of 17- and 18-year-olds such a success. Many people have asked Anna, “How do you work with kids all day?” Her response below shows just how, and why, this program has become a success for both Hamilton Southeastern High School, and Tactive.
How do you work with kids all day?
– Anna Stumpf, teacher at Hamilton Southeastern High School
In my third year of running an SBE (school based enterprise) with senior business students, I have more of an appreciation for what our young people are capable of than I ever have before. In just fifty minutes a day these students collectively manage a successful business. It’s a class for them, just like math or English, and they are within a year of leaving the halls of this school forever, so why would they care about a spirit shop? I don’t know, but they do.
I’ve seen amazing dedication, creativity, heart and initiative out of fifteen seniors this year, and in years passed. The level at which these kids perform rivals that of most retail stores, especially when you take the amount of time they have to work at this SBE compared to a 40 hour a week employee.
The group I have right now worked for two weeks before school even started. You don’t do that for your social studies classes or your math teacher. They gave up time at football games their senior year to work, they worked on Saturdays and put in early mornings and time after school throughout the year. They held each other accountable and often times held each other up. Even the least effective student rises to the occasion in a crowd like this because if they don’t do it on their own, peer pressure will make them. What did all of this time and effort get them? A grade. Just like they get in all of their other classes. However, they also get to leave high school knowing that they are in a rare class of people.
How many college freshmen have designed apparel for 2700+ high school students? How many college freshmen worked to design, promote and execute a $10,000 one day event at a high school spirit shop? How many people on the planet can say that they were directly responsible for a $32,000 registration sales event that occurred before the school year officially started? How many students interviewing for an internship in college can pull out a portfolio full of designs that they helped create, market and sell to a high school? How many students can say they did sales forecasting for an e-store and a brick and mortar store for a full year and returned a 25% sales increase?
Let’s not forget the meetings with vendors, the cold calls and visits to sell website advertisements and the fact that ExactTarget, a world leader in marketing, has thoroughly trained these kids on how to execute a successful email marketing campaign. I mean these kids can sit you down and explain an effective call to action in an email and they can interpret a Google Analytics report! Experience has taught these kids far more than any internship, textbook or teacher ever could.