YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS

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The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) is a programme giving year 12 and 13 pupils the chance to set up and run their own business for a year. The pupils set up a company, create real products or services, compile and implement a business plan and make a real profit or loss. The Star reporter David Beck continues a series looking at the business ideas of these young entrepreneurs.
A group of St Hilda’s Collegiate School pupils is using the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme to create social change through fashion.
Sarah Cochrane (16), Emma Taggart
(16), Samantha Ellison (17), Anna Frame (16) and Sophia Borthwick (16) have designed and are selling charity T-shirts, and 30% of the profits made will go to Women’s Refuge.
Sarah said the group had named its business Etch, which stood for Everyone Together Can Help.
Emma said they chose Women’s Refuge because domestic violence was a huge problem in New Zealand.
‘‘They’re one of the organisations that does a lot of work to stop it. We had a look at the statistics and one in three New Zealand women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime,’’ she said.
Anna said the group took its time doing market research and designing the T-shirts before taking pre-orders.
‘‘It’s the small Etch logo on either a grey or white shirt. Our market research told us that the most popular style at the moments is a small, simple design,’’ she said.
The T-shirts were just for women at present but the group would look at introducing a men’s range in the future.
Sophia said they chose to take preorders so there would be fewer surplus products and more profit to go towards Women’s Refuge.
‘‘We’re currently taking orders — they close on July 20 — and then we will be shipping out our first wave of T-shirts,’’ she said.
Sarah said the idea to do something for charity developed over time.
‘‘We started off thinking about designing jewellery but then we thought we could have the edge of doing it for charity, and realised we were all quite passionate about it,’’ she said.
The group, along with all the other young enterprise teams, presented its business idea in a Dragons’ Den-style event yesterday where they were marked on operations, finances, innovation, marketing and how well they communicated the idea.
Emma said they had advertised the T-shirts through social media and the next step was to begin exploring other areas of marketing and attempt to sell as many as possible.
Samantha said the key to being a successful business was cohesion.
‘‘We might disagree sometimes but we have to remember the bigger picture — we are doing this for Women’s Refuge,’’ she said. – If you would like to know more about Etch or order a T-shirt go towww.etchstore.weebly.com.