In the spring of 2014, CTE Visual Merchandising and Business Marketing teachers at the High School of Fashion Industries in New York City embarked upon a journey to transform their school store into a successful student-run business that could raise money to fund scholarships.
The journey began when teachers instructed their students to design the store of their dreams. Students decided on a desired atmosphere, brand name, logo, sample display, floor plan, and other crucial elements for the new store. After this design process, however, students faced a barrier to effectively implementing these ideas: they needed time during the school day to practice business. Luckily, VEI’s program provides the perfect environment for students to practice business to enhance their business skills and gain more knowledge about how to run a successful business.
Starting in Fall 2014, students from the High School of Fashion Industries founded the VEI firm FLY NY and have used this business to function as the new school store. To replace the old store, FLY NY student-employees selected a product assortment, reached out to companies for donations, and performed the labor necessary for opening the store. Students serve as Sales Associates throughout the day, rotating shifts based on their availability.
Kayla Adams, CEO of FLY, expresses the difficulty of running a ‘company’ of her peers by saying, “It is hard being a high school student surrounded by people that are your friends that have egos or can easily distract you.”
Despite this challenge, she has led the group of students to success in both the VEI class and the school store. She says of the success, “It takes hard work and dedication to get to the top… if you really want something, you have to produce the work.”
VEI coordinator Ms. Vita Vaccaro added some insight, stating that, “It is truly amazing to see how passionate students are when they truly care what they are doing and do it from the heart.”
The store provides apparel, footwear, accessories, skincare, & hair care as well as school supplies and snacks.
Crystal Diaz, Vita Vaccaro, Tyler Fugazzie, & Mark Lipari contributed to this article.