Imagine being a high school student and launching a product line at Macy’s. Students from Novi High School in Michigan had this unique experience thanks to a partnership between the high school and The Market @ Macy’s.
The partnership, led by vice president store manager Paul Carlson, was born when Macy’s Twelve Oaks facilitated a corporate grant to fund the launch of Novi High School’s first ever incubator program – a class and makerspace offering select seniors the opportunity to see their ideas for products, apps, inventions, services and more to fruition.
In an effort to build meaningful relationships in their communities through giving back, Macy’s Growth50 stores were given an additional $500,000 budget through Corporate Giving. Each store was able to request additional funding (up to $10,000) to support non-profit organizations of their choosing.
Carlson identified an opportunity to leverage The Market @ Macy’s, and as part of the class, students were divided into two groups and challenged to create and develop their own brands to be carried in The Market.
The students rose to the occasion by launching two unique brands – from the ground up. That meant deciding on a name, purpose, packaging, design, and learning about marketing, pricing and business models.
In addition to partnering with The Market @ Macy’s leadership, Carlson connected with his Macy’s media relations contacts to host a press conference and, as a result, secure extensive coverage from local media.
Quest: A t-shirt and hoodie brand with a purpose. 10% of proceeds benefit other Detroit Public Schools for use in starting their own business development courses.
OnPurpose: A sock brand offering packs of six purposely mismatched socks that complement each other for easy dressing on busy mornings. They may all be different patterns, but they’re worn that way “OnPurpose.”
The student-run brands are now being sold in The Market @ Macy’s at Twelve Oaks. After the first two weeks, there was over $14,000 in sales. Profits from all sales will go toward funding next year’s incubator class.
“These products were 100% created, designed and executed by our kids – which is really stunning,” said Dr. RJ Webber, Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services for the Novi Community School District. “To me, it marks the beginning of a beautiful relationship between our community public schools and businesses, and demonstrates how these worlds can come together and support each other - because we’re better together. We would love this to serve as a model for future programs, and we’re so grateful to Macy’s for this incredible partnership.”