With shops like Colby’s Relaxation Station or Bri’s Gaming Boutique, 60 Halifax County Public School students learned a lesson in entrepreneurship and marketing during the 2019 Elementary Gifted Program Market Day at The Prizery on Wednesday.
Taught by four EGP specialists — Diane Talbott, Kelly Franco, Donna Elliott and Susie Milam — students from all seven elementary schools created storefronts and sold homemade items to classmates, central office and school personnel and chamber of commerce members.
But that was not before spending months learning the ins and outs of marketing, earning a business license, creating prototypes and coming up with a store name, item to sell, slogan and jingle.
“They present their ideas to the students, and we have board meetings where they bring in prototypes of five items. Students discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and then they narrow it down to three or less,” said Talbott.
She also noted a lot of work goes on at home, adding how much she appreciates the partnership with parents to help.
They present the culmination of their hard work each year during Market Day when students take turns giving sales pitches while presenting their jingles and slogans.
Members of the chamber of commerce are given the opportunity to pass out awards such as most innovative product or most enthusiastic sales pitch.
“It’s a big self confidence booster, and it helps teach life skills,” said Talbott, and students and teachers help with creating those sales pitches.
Students also have the chance to earn money during and prior to Market Day.
Talbott explained students have deadlines they have to meet just as with any business venture, and if they make that deadline, they have the opportunity to earn money. If a student misses a deadline, he or she can lose money.
That money is used to shop at other storefronts, and then any profits they have at the end of Market Day is used during an auction for toys. The chamber awards also may be redeemed as money.
Cecilee Hess, daughter of Dusin and Angie Hess, earned the most innovative product award with Cecilee’s Creative Activity Trays.
She recycled food trays from the hospital and turned them into chalkboards with a clip to hold papers.
“My mom was brainstorming ideas, and she remembered kids making chalkboards at vacation Bible school. I thought it would be something that no one else would think of,” said Hess.
She was right.
But for her, the most joy she received on Market Day was from seeing all the other ideas and seeing others reactions when seeing someone else’s idea.
“I enjoy watching how people think of a product and then seeing the look of surprise, happiness and excitement on other’s faces,” said Hess.
Meanwhile, Joshia Woosley of Sydnor Jennings Elementary School was enjoying selling his duct tape wallets.
“Definitely selling,” said Woosley, when asked what his favorite part of Market Day was. “I’m already sold out of tie-dye and patriotic.”
His dad suggested the idea of duct tape wallets, and being that his friend, Will, had previously taught him, all he needed was a quick refresher from Pinterest to get started.
“I thought it would be something unheard of, and everyone needs somewhere to put their money,” said Woosley, the son of Benjamin and Michelle Woosley.
He earned the most enthusiastic sales pitch for his tune that reminded listeners of the Nationwide Insurance commercial.
Students Brett Crowder and Angelina Hoang decided to use something everyone can find to create their sales items – rocks.
Crowder, who enjoys art, offered a variety of animals, while Hoang decided to use flowerpots to create cacti.
Using the tune “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree,” Hoang turned the words to “Coming around the city and buy some décor, everyone knows that it’s so cute,” as she pitched her cacti at Angelina’s Cactus City.
She had found the idea on Pinterest, and being that she enjoys the outdoors, she had no problem going out and collecting rocks.
Her mom, Lenh Truong, said, “She was so excited. She was creating these all over the house. She’s so creative.”
Not only did Crowder sell his pebble pets at Crowder’s Creatures, but he also sold seed sacks using popsicle sticks.
“I wanted to do something kind of simple and kind of complicated,” said Crowder, who is the son of C. W. and Christy Crowder.
He also said, “It was kind of fun to go shopping and see what all these stores have.”
Abriana Mitchell of Great Games Galore also enjoyed shopping and seeing the other items created.
“I enjoy buying stuff and seeing how people make such cool stuff. I think it’s really cool,” said Mitchell, the daughter of Aubree and Quincey Mitchell.
She sold basketball games made out of cardboard boxes, mazes made out of cardboard and tic tac toe, checkers and go fish games made out of sacks, which was appropriate for the basketball, softball and volleyball player.
“I enjoy a lot of sports, and I had fun making them,” said Mitchell.
While some may not have any problems coming up with their items to sell or their pitches, Talbott said if someone struggled, a teacher or student wasn’t far away to lend a hand.
She was beaming with pride as she passed around the mic from one student to another witnessing their hard work paying off as they gave their sales pitches.
“I also want to thank parents for their partnership in this, and the support we receive from central office and school principals who allow us the time to work with these kids. Thank you as well to the Halifax County Public School Education Foundation for giving us a grant to rent this space, and to the chamber of commerce for coming out and supporting this event. It’s a community effort that really highlights the program,” Talbott concluded.