DALLAS — A trio of entrepreneurs just received the opportunity to expand their new businesses.
One makes blankets, with part of the proceeds going to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital to fight cancer. Another sells handmade fudge, and the other makes lotion that shimmers.
Six businesses pitched the products and financial plan to a set of judges, with the top three earning money to expand, and a T-shirt to advertise they had been selected a finalist.
Wait. A T-shirt?
Yes, these entrepreneurs are also students in Amy Morrison’s business and design class at LaCreole Middle School. This semester, her students competed in a “Shark Tank” contest to design and market a product.
“In that, they all came up with a product they wanted to create, and then developed by doing a website, a product page and about them page,” Morrison said. “They worked on their advertising and marketing, did flyers and business cards and promo videos. At the end, they went ahead and had a group of volunteer adults come in and judge their pitches.”
That round of judging narrowed the field to six contestants: Jodi Brown and Henry May (dog toys); Kiera Schetzel and Sophia Timmerman (shimmering lotion); Shelby Baylie (art); Dana Ellis and Austin Carrasco (shadow box frames); Isabella Coffaro and Emma Irvin (blankets); and Marni Darrinton (fudge).
Those six contestants made their final pitch to the Dallas Rotary Club for a chance to land in the top three.
Rising to the top of the field was Isabella and Emma with their business, Ineree Blankets.
“With Ineree, we donate 10 percent to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital,” Emma said. “Our goal is to spread as much love, kindness and joy to as many people as we can.”
The blankets are custom-made, with customers able to pick their designs. They cost $20, and as of the Rotary presentation on Jan. 20, the pair had made $120.
Second place went to Marni with her Cunning Confections, a fudge making company.
“When I was little, my mom would make the most amazing desserts, and I would love to help her,” Marni said. “I basically grew up helping my mom in the kitchen.”
At one point, she decided to share her gift for making the sweet treats with her classmates.
“Everyone loved it and told me if I sold it, I would probably make a lot of money,” she said. “That is how Cunning Confections began.”
She makes original fudge and specialty varieties in rocky road, peppermint, s’mores, peanut butter and M&M.
Kiera and Sophie took third in the contest with their Schimmer Lotions. The name combines their last names and describes the product.
“It actually shimmers. We have a makeup shimmer pigment that makes it shimmery,” Keira said. “We thought about using some sort of food shimmer, but we did some research and that actually isn’t as good for your skin as makeup.”
Sophie said with more funding, they would offer a variety of sizes and make custom scents.
“We decided to make lotion because it is fun. We both had been wanting to experiment around with it, discover how it is made. We also wanted to help people have better skin care. Nobody likes having an itchy hand or some sort of rash or something. Lotion helps that.”
Morrison said she’s proud of what her students were able to produce and how they presented their products.
“I think it was a fun way for students to take pride and showcase their work, especially those who went above and beyond,” she said. “They all worked really hard and I was so impressed with their ability to speak publicly.”