Business students at Vanier Collegiate plan to sell warm clothing and warm food for class projects this semester, with some revenue going toward charities focused on food security and mental health.
The Entrepreneurship 30 class kicked off its annual Junior Achievement program with an official launch on Nov. 17. The two student-run companies had tables erected in the lunchroom to hawk their wares to fellow students and teachers and make it easier to purchase early Christmas gifts.
Prairie Sky — “The sky has no limits” — is a clothing company offering bunnyhugs, crewnecks, T-shirts, sweatpants and a bundle featuring matching bunnyhug and sweats.
Twenty per cent of the company’s proceeds will go to Journey Hope, an organization focusing on mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
Mix Inc. — “Everything but the kitchen sink!” — is a company that produces dry soup mixes flavoured with either Kick Butt Chicken Soup or Vegetable Medley; each makes four to five servings.
Twenty per cent of the company’s proceeds will support Hunger in Moose Jaw.
Both businesses will sell their products until mid-January. Both have a Shopify account and can be found on the school’s website.
Prairie Sky chose to sell clothing because a student-run business sold similar items a few years ago and generated so much revenue that the students donated a large cheque to their charity, explained co-president Kate Waldenberger. Plus, it’s winter and people enjoy wearing warm clothing.
The students acquired their Prairie Sky-branded clothing from The Shop, a business in the strip mall near the Town ‘n’ Country Mall. The Shop prints onto the clothing while the youths sell them.
Waldenberger took Entrepreneurship 30 because of the life skills she could learn and implement in everyday life — at school or in business. So far, she has learned how to create receipts, issue order forms, connect with residents and business owners and determine how to establish a Shopify account.
Co-president Colby Clarke explained he took the class because he hopes to run a sports shop business and wanted the entrepreneurial skills ahead of time. Some skills include promotions, learning how to create a business and understanding the necessary work ethic.
Both co-presidents agreed that dealing with people — particularly their teammates — has been an eye-opening experience. They have a large group, so keeping everyone busy is challenging, considering they don’t make the clothing and there is plenty of downtime.
Yet, Waldenberger thought her teammates — and the public — would support the project because The Shop is a community business and the proceeds support a worthy charity.
The group chose Journey to Hope because many Vanier students have faced significant mental health challenges the past few years, including losing a fellow student to suicide during the 2021-22 year.
“Even after that, things affect everyone differently, and it’s something that (everyone) needs to be more aware of, especially in this day and age with it’s everywhere,” added Waldenberger.
Mix Inc. focused on selling food because they wanted to offer something quick and easy to make, especially for athletes or people with little time to cook, explained Lance Santos, the group’s head of HR.
“… many times, I would come home from football and there wasn’t supper because my dad was at work and my mom was helping out the team,” said president Stephen Walcer. “So, it would be such a good project if we could just start a pot of water and throw the food in — and it’s easy to watch.”
There is more work to running a business than meets the eye, said Santos. He has learned more about production and being organized than he ever thought possible.
Some lessons they hope to learn include how to start a business, operate it and connect with the community. They added that their group chose Hunger in Moose Jaw because it fits with their business’ food theme.