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Growing Pains w/ Ornaments for Society

We talk a lot about cultivating authentic learning environments – but what does that really look like? Sometimes the challenges students face in the classroom are virtually identical to struggles we face here in the RWS office! Today we’re taking a look into Ornaments for Society, a middle school business from Sioux City, IA with teacher Kerri Johnson at the helm.

Ornaments for Society, run by a business and technology class, started off strong. They launched their customized 3D printed ornaments during the 2015 holiday season and they absolutely killed it. Since then, things have started to slow down. CEO Emily tells us, “When we first started, we noticed we had a lot more business than we do now. We’ve kind of started decreasing in business. I think it has to do a lot with the name. Our name has a lot of ties to Christmas time.”

In order to keep business on the upswing, Ornaments for Society has been brainstorming different ways to generate new business. In the past few months, the class has added several new designs to their lineup including different sports themes, graduation key chains, and customizable cancer ribbons to celebrate and honor the lives of loved ones battling the illness. Coming to the end of the year and her middle school career, Emily says, “I kind of wish we could expand a little more to where we sell. I feel like we could reach out to a broader audience. We’ve brainstormed a little bit, but we’re still not really sure about the best way to reach out.”

In any entrepreneurial endeavor, an initial idea often requires fine-tuning and starting an EdCorp is no different. As part of the learning experience, these rock star students are applying thoughtful analysis and reflection as they evolve their approach. Here at Real World Scholars, we define success for these student-run businesses a bit differently than in the traditional sense. Rather than prioritizing profit margins, we celebrate students developing real world grit, adaptability, and the entrepreneurial mindset they’ll need once they graduate and enter the workforce. While they’re still looking for a business model that accomplishes their goals, they have already learned some creative problem solving skills they’ll be able to put to use in high school, college and beyond.

The best is yet to come for Ornaments for Society, and we’re so proud of all they’ve accomplished so far. Way to go Ornaments for Society! We can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Stay tuned for updates with Ornaments for Society, and, as always, to share your student stories or learn more about starting an EdCorp in your classroom, send us an email at contact@realworldscholars.org.