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Student entrepreneurs present goods at Econ Fair

Individuals were able to purchase products ranging from home-made ice cream to hallowed-out books from over a dozen booths which lined the Ground Zero quad for the annual Econ Fair, March 7. The function, hosted by students currently enrolled in an Economics (Econ) class, brought wares and services to FC customers for a full lunch period.

Created by Econ teacher Robert Foshee in the early 2000s, the Econ Fair is an annual project used to educate students on the process that goes into successfully marketing and producing merchandise. Though the exhibition was passed over last year, Foshee, along with first-year Econ teacher Jordana Siebert, decided to revive the assignment in order to give students a chance to grasp an understanding of their material outside the classroom.

“The point of the Econ Fair is to teach students how to be entrepreneurs and think like entrepreneurs — not just how to create something, but how to market it, how to sell it, how to budget for something, how to think about everything that goes into making a product and everything that goes into making sure it gets sold,” Siebert said. “So students are dealing with supply and demand and everything we talk about in class and putting it to use. It’s just a good way to have a hands-on semester.”

In order to qualify for the fair, students had to first submit an original idea they had the capability of manufacturing with a partner. Once this was approved by a teacher, the pair could then move forward with a business plan that featured budgets, proposals and a marketing strategy, among other requirements. Given six weeks to assemble this, groups unveiled their enterprise in the form of paper advertising, beginning March 5.

“Students see American Economics everyday, so to be able to let them be entrepreneurs when they’re surrounded by them on a daily basis, I thought, would be a good way to make sure that they we’re having a hands-on experience,” Siebert said. “Hopefully they’re learning from it. I mean, they’re using terminology now that I don’t think they even knew was in their vocabulary for Econ earlier on in the semester.”

After putting together a booth during fifth period, students were tasked with hawking as much of their product as they could in a 45-minute interval. Juniors Lynn Kim and Stefi Peck, who sold trinkets at their kiosk, Kawaa Bow Bracelets, experienced difficulties with their pricing, but were able to resolve the problem before they ran out of time.

“We sold bow bracelets because they’re stylish and cute and we knew girls would want to wear them,” Peck said. “It wasn’t too hard, it was actually a lot of fun to do everything for this. We expected to sell more, but selling one-fourth of what we made is still pretty good. I think we did pretty well, even though we had to lower our prices to get people to our booth.”

Customers were free to roam about the displays, though some presentations attracted more attention than others. Kritical Knits, a booth manned by seniors Scott Jennings and Ryan Neufeld completely sold out of their product, which included beanies, beardos and bracelets, before the end of lunch.

“I think we did extremely well,” Jennings siad. “I don’t think we expected our product to sell this great. We completely sold out, and made around $200. We sold knit stuff because you see people with bracelets and beanies everywhere; they’re a popular product and that’s why we chose it. I’m very pleased, I don’t think anybody here made anything near to what we did.”

According to freshman Chris Grossman, who patroned the event, vendors did an excellent job of keeping the atmosphere stimulating.

“I thought it was a lot of fun,” Grossman said. “It was exciting and refreshing to have instead of a normal lunch period. I loved the opportunity to buy stuff that you can’t really buy anywhere else. I think they did a really good job with flyers and order forms, word of mouth was really hot, and the beardos sold out in like five minutes, I think. Everybody did a really good job of keeping their customers excited.”

When all was said and done, the Econ Fair impressed Siebert, who says that seeing the overall result was gratifying to her after witnessing her students work for more than a month.

“I’m pretty impressed with the turnout and how they did,” Siebert said. “With the time crunch, they pulled it together. A lot of tables were well thought out and they really surprised me with how much they put into it. So it was cool to see the end result since they’ve had so much time to work on it and see the final products.”

For more information on Economics class, read the March 6 article,
BRIEF: Econ Fair markets original products or the May 17, 2010 Econ Fair to showcase mock businesses.

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    Logan RoodMar 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Clint, Brandon, Stephan and Juan’s presentation was really good! They looked so comfortable and they made good points!