Class project turned student-run small business

1993

ARCANUM – Three Arcanum-Butler School high school students have turned their entrepreneurship class project into an exciting small business. Wyatt Wilson, Braylen Etherington, and Lauren McDermott use a 3D printer and Cricut to make coasters, ornaments, and key chains. 

Their business is Trojan Design Co. Their slogan is Small Item, Big Impact.

“We’re in entrepreneurship class with Mr. McEldowney,” Wilson said. “When it came time to make a business, we brought this idea up from scratch and built off each other.”

These three students took this project seriously and worked like it was already a full-running business. They had trial and error with their products and took feedback to improve. For example, with their coaster, through testing products and gaining customer feedback, they added a lip to the edge of the coaster to keep cups from sliding off and rubber feet to the button to keep the coast itself from moving and sliding. 

“We make all the business decisions with the help of Mr. McEldowney, but a lot of what we do is student-led,” Wilson said. “He guides us in the right direction when we need, more like steers us away from going the wrong way.” 

“Sometimes we let them make mistakes, but it’s all a part of the learning process,” McEldowney said. 

While they worked on prototypes, they not only figured out how to make the product itself better but also worked on lowering production time and costs. 

They even have backup plans for products such as stickers, t-shirts, and car cup holder coasters. Luckily, they haven’t had to use the backup plans yet, but they are glad to have them in place just in case. 

The students make the products themselves and use quite a few materials—a Circuit, 3D printer, vinyl, filament nozzles, rubber feet, and binder rings. The coaster costs $2.20 to make, keychains cost $1.70 to make, and the ornaments cost $1.60 to make. All their products sell for $5 each. 

So far, their main consumers are staff, students, and community members. The students were very excited to hit their break-even point. 

“That was an exciting day,” Etherington said. “It made things less stressful.” 

The project has helped them learn teamwork, be passionate about their work, learn from mistakes, and the basics of running a business. 

“They’ve been great,” McEldowney said. They’re self-motivated; they come in and work every day. They’ve been a great group to have, so I appreciate them for that. 

You can reach out to the Trojan Design Co. at the email Trojandesignco@gmail.com for all your Trojan Design needs.