SLHS Program Launches Student-Led Business

Members of the IRIS society model their t-shirts, available for purchase by SLHS second year Sofia Pakhomkina. The artwork, screen printed on a t-shirt, focuses on the environmental issue of global warming and coral reef bleaching. Net proceeds from this product are donated to the Coral Reef Alliance.

Sixteen teenagers from South Lakes High School started a company called “JACP Company F: Iris”, or IRIS to shorten it. The business is entirely student-run and operates at the school’s address, 11400 South Lakes Drive, Reston. IRIS sells merchandise such as first-edition t-shirts and stickers printed with juried artwork by local high school and college students. Artists are the backbone of the IRIS community. Net proceeds, the amount received by the seller after all expenses, fees and taxes, goes to each artist’s chosen charity, the cause their art reflects.
A selection of sample merchandise available from IRIS, local delivery, pick up and drop off available.

IRIS is under the umbrella of Junior Achievement (JA) of Greater Washington and the JA Company program.

The after-school program fills a need. It imparts to student business members the practical skills needed to conceptualize, capitalize, and manage a business enterprise from inception, launch, and operation. When the time comes, students will liquidate their business assets and complete the closing process before the end of the school year.

“Students who have entered and developed this program have experienced a connection to the real world that is difficult to replicate in a typical classroom setting. This year’s seniors have been part of the program from the start and have built a culture of standards and success which will last after they graduate in June,” said Jonathan McNamara, SLHS teacher and program mentor.

The CEO of IRIS is Mariam Seshan. According to Seshan, before the company idea for its business model existed, the IRIS team built the company structure, management and organization, including sales, marketing, supply chain. procurement and finance. After that, the entrepreneurs collectively discussed and considered business ideas, researched what was trending, presented ideas to others, and determined who was the target demographic for the business.

But, as Seshan said, the big question was, “What are we trying to accomplish?

The focus of the service has evolved into empowering student artists by giving them a platform to promote, sell, and build their brand. In return, artists can help a cause close to their hearts while making themselves known in the art world.

IRIS is already establishing itself as one of the best start-up companies. They are the winners of the distinctions “Best Overall”, “Audience Choice: Best Commercial” and “Audience Choice: Best Logo” at the Junior Achievement 2022 show.

According to SLHS teacher and mentor, Aanand Vasudevan, building a business from scratch teaches students to think critically and apply what they learn day-to-day in their classes in an interdisciplinary approach. . They also find their own passions and areas of development within their own journey. “As educators, it’s imperative to make education more relevant and engaging for our children and solving problems in their own community is a great way to do that,” he said.

SLHS Artist Vex Razi, 17, is one of the artists of IRIS. His pen and ink work, titled “It’s All in Your Head”, illustrates mental health issues. This design is featured on the $1.75 First Edition IRIS Stickers.

Mina Garcia, a second-year student at SLHS and a member of the IRIS marketing team, works in various smaller teams within IRIS, each led by a vice president. According to Garcia, the marketing team focuses on social media, email campaigns and media communication. She is also involved in creating websites. “We are working on updates to the website – new artists, their products, prices and monitoring the sale of different items,” she said.

The team created a corporate logo, a graphic design that captures the brand’s vibe. According to Seshan, it is an ink depiction of the eye with its iris, or colored part of the eye, an iris flower. The company chose an iris as its logo because of its literal and symbolic meanings. “The iris is the part of your eye that helps you see. It bends light. That’s why our logo is shaped like an eye. Additionally, it symbolizes the iris flower, representing wisdom “Seshan said.

Vex Razi, 17, one of the IRIS artists, whose pen and ink work, ‘It’s all in your head’, illustrates mental health issues. The design appears on the First Edition 3-inch IRIS stickers, available for $1.75 each and local delivery.

Senior Aadya Nair, 18, said his artwork is available as a standalone sticker and is part of a set that includes a t-shirt and other stickers. It’s called “All the Days Have No Thorns,” she said. “I created this piece to subtly allude to the importance of nature,” she said in her online statement. “There are so many nuances of nature that remain unexplored but are essential in terms of the beauty and functionality of the environment as a whole.”

According to Jonathan McNamara, SLHS teacher and program mentor, the ongoing process of developing skills in communication, teamwork, goal setting and resilience fits perfectly into the FCPS Graduate Portrait that helps students succeed. beyond the classroom. The Junior Achievement business program will help prepare students to be productive members of a global community and to thrive in the future workforce.

COVID-dependent, IRIS may compete against other Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, JA corporate programs in March and hope to qualify for the national competition. IRIS demonstrates merit. At Junior Achievement 2022, IRIS won first place overall, People’s Choice: Best Advertising and “People’s Choice: Best Logo,” according to the company’s website. To visit to learn more about the program, the artists and visit the shop for buy now. IRIS accepts Apple Pay, Google Pay, credit cards and three local delivery options, pickup and shipping.

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