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The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

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‘Pressing’ On: Portola Printing Makes Progress In Business Goals

As detailed by the Portola Pilot at the start of this school year, students in Portola High’s Small Business Management class formed Portola Printing, the school’s first T-shirt business. As the year draws to a close, the enterprise has completed orders from over ten campus organizations, including sports teams and clubs.

Students made financial estimations and conducted surveys to gain an approximate market size and understand the yearly needs of community members so that they could garner a customer base, according to business teacher Katherine Dillon. Using Custom Ink and their supplier, Transfer Express, students submitted designs and began sales, according to Dillon.

The shirts cost between $12 to $15, according to sophomore Aditya Nair. Students experimented with a variety of base T-shirt brands, ensuring that each customer is satisfied with the fabric, fit and durability of their T-shirts, according to customer and volleyball coach Eric Graham.

“I think [Portola Printing has] a higher quality shirt,” Graham said. “Also, when Portola people are doing things, it’s really important that we support each other, especially if it’s benefiting our school, so to pay a little bit more but to be able to support Portola business was worth it.”

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Operating Portola Printing has given students the opportunity to learn and apply valuable business skills such as supply market analysis, according to Dillon. As students go through the sales consulting process, they are responsible for tracking supplies and managing inventory as well as determining design needs, budget constraints, apparel quality and sizes, and negotiating terms and prices.

“We’re generating a lot of data that we can use in class to learn about and analyze the financials of our business, so we can do the accounting for it,” Dillon said. “We can make projections of how much we need to budget for the next year or what our income’s going to be for the next year at a relatively low risk because the students aren’t investing their own money.”

Due to increasing demand, the students began manually printing customers’ T-shirt orders with a press machine in the business classroom, according to Nair.

“To explain it like a business, you want to make as much money as possible, but at the same time, you want returning customers,” Nair said. “Everyone has their own interests and business in mind, so it’s about finding that sweet spot where you’re not overcharging customers to the point where they don’t want to come to you.”

With the funds generated from past sales, Portola Printing plans to upgrade current equipment for better production quality and to become the main custom apparel provider for sports teams and clubs across IUSD, according to Nair. In the future, Portola Printing hopes to use its revenue to fund business competitions.

This story was originally published on Portola Pilot on May 6, 2024.