Pillows and profits

Published 9:36 am Saturday, December 4, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Some students at Brandywine Middle-High School are looking to make the holiday season a little brighter for needy children with the profits gained from an economics class project.
Juniors Casey Couch, Matt Skornog, Matt Wieger, Brian Krisher, and Aaron Edquist are donating $250 to the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.
The students will be making the donation the Toys for Tots program at the WNDU studios Saturday during the station's day-long donation drive.
The group raised the money selling hand-made pillows, called "Snooze Pouches," as part of a class project for high School social studies teacher David Roeder's economics class.
The project was designed to teach the students about free enterprise and small business management.
Students in the class split into groups and started small businesses, with the goal being to run a successful business by turning a profit.
Each group chose what kind of product to sell and worked to market and sell their product in a three week period in October.
While other groups sold candles, pretzels, and sweets, the five juniors chose to sell pillows because, "everyone needs a pillow," Skornog said.
The group sold the pillows, ranging in price from $3 to $8, in a variety of patterns and sizes. They also took special orders for more expensive pillows, which were made with special materials and in larger sizes.
The pillows were made by Edquist's mother, Tracie, who the guys even dubbed as their "production manager." Edquist said his mother makes the pillows as a hobby and she was more than willing to help the boys with their project.
The students raised over $1,000 from the pillow sales. After paying for all the expenses incurred from producing the pillows, the boys made about $700 in profit.
Of that $700, $250 will be donated to Toys for Tots, and the rest will be evenly distributed among the group members.
The group credited their aggressive marketing campaign, location, and their selection of product as some of the main reasons that their business turned out to be such a success.
While the group sold the pillows at Brandywine Middle-High School, the majority of their sales came from the nights when they sold pillows at the Niles Children's Fun House on Bell Road.
The group sold about 3,000 pillows during the eight nights they were outside the fun house.
The group also offered a variety of different pillows. The most popular pillows the group sold included those decorated with themes of children's shows and movies.
At the school, the group said they sold a number of fleece pillows with soccer ball patterns to fellow students. In the four years Roeder has done the class project with his students, the "Snooze Pouches" were the most successful business in any of his classes.