The Bitney Marketplace is the latest opportunity for Bitney Prep High School students to pursue their passions, demonstrate their drive, help shape their future, and have a great time doing it.
As with most things, the Marketplace began with an idea. Last year, while still in the midst of distance learning, Bitney Prep Charter High School formed a partnership with Sierra Commons and the Sierra Small Business Development Center to offer a small business startup course to its students.
Over a six-week period, Bitney Prep students were exposed to essential business concepts through interactive and highly personalized instruction led by the director of Sierra Commons, Robert Trent. Bitney students spent the morning in a Zoom room together learning the nuts and bolts of starting and operating a successful business followed by one-hour one-on-one individualized mentoring sessions.
Out of that experience, besides starting his own fashion business, Grimace Clothing, Bitney Junior Josh Bell started to think about new marketing strategies and how to reach a broader audience for his handmade fashion line. One of the ideas he landed on was the Bitney Marketplace.
Josh brought the idea to the Bitney Prep Student Council this year, and the idea was widely embraced. “We have tons of students on campus who are artists, artisans, and have an entrepreneurial spirit,” says Bitney English teacher Kelly Casey. “A marketplace just made sense and it aligns perfectly with our push here at Bitney to empower our students. I’m hoping students gain experience promoting what they make and setting up side hustles and get a self-esteem boost from getting to show what they’re capable of.”
Currently planned to be a once-a-month event, the first Bitney Marketplace was on Dec. 9 on Bitney Prep’s campus on Joerscke Drive in Grass Valley’s Brunswick Basin.
“The marketplace is not a typical school event. It’s not a fundraiser,” says Josh Bell. “All profits a student makes from selling their handmade items goes directly to them. It’s a great opportunity to not only make some money but also to market our products and build a customer base. The staff of Bitney has been very supportive and accommodating, helping organize this, marketing it, and giving us a platform to sell.”
Besides Josh’s clothing, also available at the Bitney Marketplace were original art, jewelry, patches, clay items, baked goods, and crocheted items.
“I’m really proud of all of our students, especially our leadership class, for putting all this together,” said Tori Harris, Bitney Prep Social Science teacher and Activities Director. “An event like the Bitney Marketplace is one of those culminating events of everything we hope to see our students accomplish. Initiative, empowerment, organization, passion, and future planning. All these things are on display along with the items the students have for sale.”
The next Bitney Marketplace will be held mid-January 2022 and, after gauging the success of the first event, it is bound to be bigger with even more students participating
Source: Bitney Prep