As thirteen ambitious high school seniors, we embarked on our last year of high school with anxiety and excitement. By joining the New Visions Business Academy through BroomeTioga BOCES, we were presented with the greatest learning experience of our school careers. We came together from 9 different school districts as one on our first day in September and standing before us was Mr. Scott Weissmann of M & T Bank, Mr. Dave Culbertson of National Pipe & Plastics, Inc. and our instructor Mrs. Julie Keenan. Scott showed us a mirror which read, “if it is to be, it is up to me.” This statement sparked our entrepreneurial mindset. From then on we were tasked with operating a Junior Achievement Company program.
After a few class sessions we decided to brand ourselves as “Trading Creative.” Once we had an identity, the creative juices began to flow. Through several brainstorming sessions we narrowed down our, somewhat outlandish, product ideas to two—Greetings Cards and Slap&Sticks. We sold our card merchandise in packs of five, with four card themes of Thank You, Holiday, Thanksgiving, and Birthday. The Slap&Stick device enables one to stick his/her smartphone to any flat surfaces. It was sold as a 2”x 3” adhesive strip and packaged with our Trading Creative logo. We broke out into four departments, Marketing, Finance, Supply Chain, and Customer Service and Sales, based on our personal skills and interests. As we conducted daily operations, we gained invaluable knowledge and skills in proper business practices. We found that selling our products was not as easy as we originally thought. This led our sales team to develop sales pitches which supplemented each member’s ability to sell. We successfully sold all of our inventory and each Trading Creative employee sold an average of 14 products. Trading Creative generated $2,114.00 in total revenue from product sales. After subtracting the cost of goods sold, our company generated a gross profit of $1,783.73. Selling and administrative expenses totaled $526.77, leaving Trading Creative with a net income of $1,256.96. To generate capital and start our business, we obtained sponsorships from local businesses and sold 100 shares of stock to community members. In our liquidation process, we donated $4,000.00 to charities in Broome County.
GBEOP, BOCES, and Junior Achievement volunteers gave us an opportunity we will look back on each day. We sincerely respect and appreciate each individual’s offering of time and effort to make the learning experience possible. Vice President of Supply Chain, Jay Lethin, spoke more specifically on their impact, “Dave Culbertson, Scott Weissmann and our teacher Mrs. Keenan taught us valuable lessons when starting a business which I will keep in mind as I move forward through life.” Even with the completion of our own company process, we realize the importance of business knowledge and the continuation of the program. “JA has given me the tools I need to be a successful entrepreneur and that is why I will continue to encourage student participation in Junior Achievement,” says Luciano DeAngelo, CEO of Trading Creative. Overall, as thirteen high school seniors, we were able to witness what great things can be accomplished when a group of passionate entrepreneurs come together to pursue the same goal.
Our next chapter to encourage growth in our community unfolds in May, when we look to make an impact at Horace Mann Elementary, in Binghamton, as Junior Achievement volunteers.