Birks Bag Company
Breadalbane Academy, Primary 6/7
Birks Bag Company is an enterprise established by primary 6/7 pupils at Breadalbane Academy. The company sold reusable, hessian shopping bags and the project saw pupils take on all aspects of running a business.
The aim was for pupils to develop an understanding of what it is like to take on responsibility for a role individually, in a group and as a whole class. The creation of a class company encouraged a sense of self-worth and confidence and lay the foundation for pupils to contribute to society and the wider world of work.
All bags were screen printed by hand to ensure a quality product for the design. You can see a video of the bags being made at the Natural Bag Company in Dundee, below.
How it developed
Pupils began by applying for jobs in Advertising, Finance, Administration and Market Research or Sales Teams. They based their applications on their previous experience and skills, such as helping at home, baking sales, skills with art and with ICT and did their utmost to persuade the teacher they were the right person for a job!
To raise funds for their Business Enterprise, primary 6/7 then pitched the business plan for Birks Bag Company to the school’s Senior Management team.
The team were able to answer all the questions, carefully and accurately, whilst putting forward a very sound business pitch. They were able to provide information about their product, market research, sales strategy, expected sales and profit margin along with their request for a business loan to help get them started. After listening to their pitch, Senior Management were only too happy to approve their loan request, seeing it as a sound investment.
A drawing competition was managed by the Advertising Team and several images were chosen to appear on the bags. Once the bag order was placed the Administration and Sales Teams wrote to local businesses to generate support.
The class also interviewed four business people who visited the class, which allowed the pupils to develop a better understanding of the pros and cons of running a small business and helped them to reflect on their own experiences so far.
The enterprise has been a huge success and Birks Bag Company, with the help of local businesses in Aberfeldy, have sold a total of 650 reusable bags by the end of the first run of this project.
What pupils gained
- How to run a successful business enterprise
- What the different roles were (Finance, Advertising, Sales etc.) and how to take ownership of these responsibilities and roles in real-life setting
- How to communicate effectively and manage a team to ensure EVERYONE’s skills are used
- Demonstrated O’s and E’s from across the curriculum, including Social Studies (SOC 2-22a, SOC 2-20a), Technology (TCH 2-03b, TCH 2-04a, TCH 2-04b) and Expressive Arts (EXA 2-02a)
“I think we can all agree we have absolutely loved this topic! We are doing this to get a taste of running your own business… It has been three days and we have sold 200 bags! Overall we have enjoyed this business so much!” – Susie Glover, Pupil.
“Given the importance of small and medium businesses to the Highland Perthshire economy, we see it as critical that we develop employees and employers of the future through providing such opportunities for the expression of entrepreneurial spirit. If the efforts of our P6/7 class are anything to go by the future prosperity of the Highland Perthshire is assured.” – John Devine, HT.
It is sustainable?
Yes, when the bags wear out in 2/3 years the project can run again.
At the end of the project, we had sold 650 bags but there was still a demand from parents and community. This gives us an established market for the next run.
We had to make a decision about the order at the start. Initially we ordered 500 bags, we did a small reorder of 150 and decided when these sold we would stop. The project ran over term 1 and term 2 and limiting sales meant we could carry on with our other topics.
What costs did you incur?
There was an initial loan from the School Fund (see pitch above) however this was never used as enough bags were sold by the time the invoice was due.
Did you involve other partners?
The following local Aberfeldy businesses supported our project with advertising and selling bags on our behalf. The pupils wrote letters to the local businesses asking for support and the administration team were able to follow up with posters, point of sale material and bags to sell. The support in the local community was invaluable and a good way for the pupils to understand how small businesses can work effectively together.
Errichel Bed and Breakfast
Wade’s News agents
Pupils were also interviewed by Alistair Smith from Heartland FM to talk about their experience of running a successful enterprise. You can take a listen to the interview below.
And finally, P6/7 enjoyed celebrating their successful enterprise and learning lots of new skills at Wee Adventures in Aberfeldy.
P6/7 Birks Bag Compay
Maree Grant (class teacher)