Pupils achieve big profit with their crafty business

Morpeth Rotary President Jim Dunn with the KEVI student entrepreneurs.
Morpeth Rotary President Jim Dunn with the KEVI student entrepreneurs.

Morpeth Rotary Club

A QUARTET of year 11 students at King Edward VI School, Morpeth, told club members about their enterprising idea.

With the help of friends and family, Charlotte, Sarah, Naomi and Sophie set up a multi aspect retail business called ‘Jam Jars and Driftwood’ that won them first prize in a competition organised by KEVI, Morpeth Chamber of Trade, Sanderson Arcade and Morpeth Town Council.

The business makes and sells artistically crafted driftwood and candle arrangements, scented jam jar candles with different designs (including see through decorations of real leaves), tooth fairy cushions with owls or cows jumping over the moon, mini friendship jars with fabric tops; heart-shaped photo holders for Valentine’s Day, vintage chocolate chip cookies and vintage tea lights.

The girls were even in competition with Rutherford’s at Christmas as they had similar driftwood arrangements, but at the lower prices of £4, £6 and £12.

Each of them led on one product type and each of them led on one part of a skilled and co-ordinated presentation to Morpeth Rotary. With a capital layout of only £20, all products were reasonably priced and on a theme of shabby, vintage chique.

They had meetings after school and at weekends. They advertised using social networking sites, including an Instagram photo sharing site, and posters, one made with the help of Sanderson Arcade.

The main event of the competition was setting up a stall in Morpeth Market Place. They had to get there for 7.50am to get it ready with a prominent sign, tablecloths and the whole variety of products.

During the day, they took turns to look at the stalls of the other young entrepreneurs and were impressed by the very high standard of the contest. They made a profit of £360.

Dave Robinson, of The Corbridge Larder, and Adam Corball. from The Apprentice, were the judges. They looked at originality, how business-minded each enterprise was and how they sold their products to customers.

The girls were very surprised to win and be presented with a cheque for £300. They took part in a special Chamber of Trade market but had fewer products to sell and made less profit.

They have just had their final company meeting, although not all of them could attend.

The product range did very well at Christmas and they plan to re-invest what they have in a future business. They have an e-mail address and make products to order and sell in local shops.

Retired teacher Michael Duffy, a former headteacher at KEVI, congratulated them on a very good presentation that showed the wonderful potential of students at the school.

Retired bank manager Barry Swan told them that Marks & Spencer would be very envious of their profit margin and President Jim Dunn reminded them that they were eligible for Rotary membership from the age of 21.

Mr Dunn then welcomed Ann Thompson as the second ever lady member of Morpeth Rotary Club. She had been a member of Seahouses Rotary Club and had a professional career in agriculture.