One week it's art, the next week we're all business.
Immediately following our successful Public Art Camp, we welcomed a new group of students for our one week Entrepreneur Camp at Vector Space. Five students ages 10-12 spent one week launching a business and creating a line of products. The final event of their project is a booth at the Downtown Lynchburg Association's Get Downtown street festival on Friday, September 6th.
We began the week with a lesson on business: business plans, prioritizing expeneses, budgeting, market research, customer conversations, and more. During lunch we heard from guest speaker Becky Booth, Director of the Center for Economic Education at the University of Lynchburg, who had some great advice and sample youth-run businesses to share with us. Next, a lesson in sound and audio prepared students to create a custom line of speakers using a new technology called exciters. These nifty electronics turn any object into a speaker- although testing was needed to determine what makes the best quality speaker. Our students questioned and debated a few options before landing on an eco-friendly, digitally designed line of home audio speakers.
On Tuesday students began designing their speakers. Using graphic design software to digitally draw their work, we made practice pieces on the laser cutter and the vinyl cutter. They learned to design stencils, how to cut and engrave on the laser, and how to design a one-color sticker. Each of these techniques went on to become the means of getting digital designs onto the wooden speaker panels, which also needed to be prepped for use via sanding and cutting. Wednesday each student was busy creating two speaker designs, while we also set out looking for a chair to become our pièce de résistance. With a bass speaker installed in the back of the chair, this full-immersion audio experience is one for the geekiest of video lovers. Guest speaker Aaron Skeen of Rosetta Coffee discussed pricing structures, marketing efficiency, and how to build a strong brand with our students.
On Thursday speaker producation continued, with guest speaker Jeff Gray of Scene 3 Designs sharing his business model, including all recycled materials and custom designed packaging, as well as advice for deisplay setup and selling at an event. Students learned to solder and began assembling the exciters to be ready to mount on the speaker wood. Feeling short on time and products, students used hand painting and abstract spray painting techniques to hurry the production process along. Students also decided that if sales go well and we exceed our expenses, the proceeds would go towards a pizza party and stocking the Lynchburg Free Pantry.
On Friday students finished building, mounting, and testing speakers. We also turned our focus back to the business, deciding on our booth layout and creating necessary pieces to compete it. A screen printed table cloth and handmade display rack bring the look together. Tabletop information and tags on each speaker help inform customers about the products and the company.
Are you looking forward to supporting a young entrepreneur at Get Downtown? Here is a preview of what our students designed and created this week:
- Porter: Locally themed speakers, including laser engraved Virginia state elements for the sophisticated shopper
- Lucas: Our graphic design maven, he has limited runs of laser engraved speakers available for makers and Lynchburg lovers
- Katie: A fruit theme and two methods of vinyl cut stencil painting set her colorful speakers apart
- Elizabeth: Her focus was unwavered from day one and her world map speakers will appeal to travel fans
- Connor: Targeting the pre-teen demographic, his laser-cut stencil and spray paint techniques will be on display
Each student brought a unique design aesthetic and possitive attitude toward teamwork to the project. We are proud of their work and hope to see lots of support at Get Downtown on Sept 6th from 6:30-10pm on Main Street!