A group of 14-year old students from Wimbledon High School have become stationery entrepreneurs after retail businessman and TV Dragon, Theo Paphitis, gave them a surprise shot at bringing their ‘Animouth’ pencil case design to life. The pencil case launches in 50 Ryman stores today, 9th July, as part of their ‘Back to School’ range.
Wimbledon High School were runners up in the Ryman National Enterprise Challenge 2018 for 13-15 year olds, having competed against thousands of students across the UK to reach the finals. Their product was so eye catching that it impressed judge Theo Paphitis so much that he personally invited them to pitch their idea again to the Ryman Buying Team. The buyers loved the range and have worked alongside the school children to create the product range, as part of their Back to School sell. The children were involved in the entire journey from idea, through to logo designs and how the display will look in store.
Theo Paphitis, Chairman, Ryman said: “The kids’ pitch was so articulate and on the money that I knew I couldn’t let the opportunity for them and Ryman slip by. Back to School is Ryman’s peak selling zone and the product is spot on for what customers want; it’s fun, interactive, eye-catching. It’s their first step on the entrepreneur ladder and we’re delighted to support this. They’re fantastic young entrepreneurs having created the product, the logo, the designs and supporting marketing ideas – retailers in the making.”
Jane Lunnon, Head of Wimbledon High School (part of the Girls’ Day School Trust) said: “What an incredible opportunity for these girls. We know our students are brimming with ideas and creativity, but to come up against one of the ‘Dragons’ and come away with your design going into production is simply wonderful. We thank The National Enterprise Challenge for the opportunity and Ryman for their brilliant support and generosity with the girls.”
Ryman National Enterprise Challenge Co-Founder Ben Dyer said: “The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge is all about giving young people skills and confidence to create and make their mark. Theo and Ryman’s project with the Wimbledon High School students has ticked all these boxes and enabled them to experience life as an entrepreneur and see their product come to life.”
‘Animouth’, the fun, animal face themed product comes in four styles; the monkey, the panda, the penguin and the lion. With two way sequin pencil case, designed to appeal to the target market of 7-11 year olds, will form a key part of Ryman’s Back to School range, and retail at £4.99 in shops and online at https://www.ryman.co.uk/animouth
At the Ryman National Enterprise Challenge finals the group were tasked with designing a product for the Ryman Back to School Range and how they would market it to their target audience.
The group of students also created the hashtag #BackZooSchool as part of a social media competition giving customers the opportunity to win a zoo-keeping experience at Drusilla’s Park.
The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge is the UK’s largest enterprise challenge and over 250,000 young people have experienced the initiative.