Over the course of their senior year, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School seniors in the Hospitality Entrepreneurship program have collaborated on a business idea, in which they have entered into the Junior Achievement competition. Their project will compete against different schools.
Their business is called “Smile Senders,” inspired by bringing smiles to faces in spite of the lack of connection between loved ones during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Their products are care packages that come with several self-care items, snacks and a personalized note. The care packages come in multiple themes such as “Just Because” and “For Her” and are available for sale on Etsy.
“The hospitality we’re in now is Hospitality 4, and it’s an entrepreneurship class and we participate in Junior Achievement,” senior Barbara Moreno said. “Junior Achievement is a program where high school teams compete to create their own student company and create their own product as well.”
Throughout the Junior Achievement program, students learn communication skills, go through real-world experiences and get certified in Microsoft programs, including PowerPoint and Excel.
The skills that students learn throughout their three years in the hospitality program lead up to their senior year, where they ultimately produce a business idea and product for the Junior Achievement competition.
Some of the requirements for the product were that it needed to be school appropriate and beneficial to the world. Smile Senders hopes to improve the mental health of others with their products.
“For example, ours is [like] mental health,” Moreno said.
As of now, the MSD team has made a profit of approximately $6000.
“We are pretty confident we are pretty high up there in comparison to other schools,” Moreno said.
They also advertise their business at the Parkland Farmers’ Market, where all the members come together to sell their product.
Smile Senders also donates their profits to SOS Children’s Village, so if someone does not have a person to gift a box to, they can donate instead. SOS Children’s Village is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the care of orphaned and abandoned children.
Smile Senders consists of 45 students working behind the scenes in different departments. The group is headed by managers to make, promote and monitor the sales of their product. Their team consists of management, sales, brand management, finance and supply chain departments.
“All the departments work together to basically run the entire company, and each one has its individual tasks and procedures,” Moreno said.
Moreno is the Vice President of Sales and finds the program extremely beneficial as she has learned many successful business and entrepreneurial skills.
“It’s different learning how to run a business in class and through a textbook then actually doing it,” senior Tomas Pereira said. “You get a first hand experience of how it actually works.”
With their “Just Because” care package, Smile Senders hopes to promote happiness by allowing others to connect with their loved ones by brightening their day. They also aim to do well in their annual competition this spring.