April 16, 2008
Creating and selling t-shirts at Oklahoma Baptist University is not unusual. Students sell t-shirts for organizations, events, intramurals, and any other reason they find. However, for eight people creating and selling a t-shirt became a business endeavor beyond the OBU t-shirt craze.
Freshmen Dillon Chilcoat and Victor Conceicao worked with six other group members to create a sellable product for their Business and Professional Careers course. Using a $200 loan, the group needed to build up a business and design and produce the product.
"Although t-shirts aren't the most creative product, and actually were not our first pick for a product, our group realized that t-shirts are something that can sell very well," said Conceicao.
The t-shirt design included an outline of the bison with the words to Ka-Rip, OBU's spirit cheer, filling in the shape.
"The logo design itself was inspired and designed by an artistic vision of a couple of our group members," said Conceicao.
Deciding on the product, however, was just the beginning. The team worked with concepts like product marketing, sales, budgets and reports to efficiently run their business and generate sales.
"We learned that running any kind of business takes a lot of work. Time, desire, resources, and researching are a few of the things you definitely need to run a good business," said Conceicao.
"As a company you need every single person to fully commit to the project at hand. Some people are better at certain things than others," he said. "If we each specialize on what we do best, then the overall project will be that much better."
The team can look at their project as a success from many different aspects. Conceicao said the team members were fully committed to it, finished the project on time and earned more than the amount they were required to make.
However, the team measures their success in a different way.
"In order to be successful, we discovered that your focus has to be on something other than just making money," Chilcoat. "We focused on supporting the Oklahoma Baptist Children's Home and making a creative and affordable product for the OBU community."
The group was required to earn at least $200 in order to pay back their loan. Any revenue they earned past that would be given to a non-profit organization of their choice. OBU's fascination with t-shirts helped Chilcoat and Conceicao's business thrive, allowing them to make a significant contribution to the Oklahoma Baptist Children's Home, while amplifying their interest in the business world.
"The project gave me a real life experience of owning and running my own business," said Chilcoat. "It taught me a lot about the process of starting a business, marketing a product, making sales, balancing a budget, working with co-workers, and how to present an annual report for a company."
The two freshmen found their knowledge and interest in business something that would not only benefit them in the working world, but also for the remainder of their studies at OBU.
"I feel that not only did I learn how to do all of the things that a company later on in life will require me to do, but more importantly I learned that it is something that I not only enjoy, but also found out I'm very good at," said Conceicao. "It gave me a boost for the remainder or my studies."