Reflection 3 (Passion Project V3 Weekly Update #12)

Hey hey! It’s been yet another long long trip for my Passion Project, and it sure seemed like a short while. Looking back, I definitely went outside of my comfort zone for this project, seeing as digital drawing *wasn’t* the main structure to my project. Instead, it was more business planning and management. But because of the nature of this project, this meant that I had also rely on other people to make this project fruitful and successful (more on that later). Anyways, my intentions for this project didn’t really morph much during this semester, always keeping on that same goal of “creating a student design team that was able to sell their products within the PTA store for charity interests”. For one, this allowed students to have the resources and peer feedback to develop their own ideas, as well as getting exposure within the student shop. Without further ado, here’s my reflection on the project development:

1. Initially, my naive mind had this elaborate plan for the Dragon Design store to be planted inside the PTA store. Unbeknownst to my younger self, there were so many technicalities that I –alongside teacher support– had to figure out before the site for the shop could even be established. After countless exchanges, we managed to pin down the location into the back of the store, where we would create this super ratchet 1.0 version of the pop-up shop, before all the shelving and proper displays could be added.

2. Always always always, the pop-up shop was a fresh site to my eyes as I perused the PTA store. During the first couple weeks of this project, it was popular amongst the ES and MS kids. In my ever-so-often check-ups on the shop, stickers would need to be restocked, as well as the occasional hoodies. I thought that this was fantastic. However, as time passed, the shop apparently grew stale with the visitors. Sales slowed down, and soon enough, restocking wasn’t much of a problem anymore, which was a problem itself. What was going on?

(Annie Guo – Grade 10)

3. My intentions from the beginning were to always restock the store with fresh, limited-edition items that students would look forward to every month or so. That way, the student shop would be a great hit with all students from ES to HS. Before we could advertise however, that meant that we should have new products within stock. With the hodge-podge team that I scrambled together in the HS, we designed more stickers, enamel pins, notecards, etc etc. Once we put in the order, we were excited on the prospect of this new store that would incorporate student products. Having said that, as time passed, we received no words from the order of the products. It seemed that the process that the school went through was very *bureaucratic*, meaning that it would probably take months for an order to be processed, saying that as we’ve received no word about the products that we requested over a month ago. But I digress, all I’m saying is, with a larger variety of products in stock, the advertisement of this new establishment would come into full effect with the students.

4. Oh! Did I forget to mention, that the shelf that was requested by our supervisor has not been updated yet? By no means am I upset at the school or anyone else, it’s just that without all of these things, my project will just have to be competed outside of the given time-span of the first semester. And that brings me to my final conclusion. Although that the final weeks of this Passion Project slowed down exponentially, I feel that we’ve developed a strong enough base for this Dragon Designers “club” to flourish in the coming semester. The end of this course does not mean the end of my commitment to this project. This has become my passion! Once the semester is over, I would most likely start most elements of this project all over again. For example, when ordering products, I would request that the students themselves contact vendors, and then receive a fapiao in order to get a refund from the school. This removes the agonizing waiting time for product orders to be approved. Also, the topic of advertising must be brought up again, for I feel that the general aura has degraded over time with the ES and MS community. Regarding the HS students, most of whom do not even step foot within the PTA store, poster with our new products could be displayed during some sort of event, or even simply during lunchtime. These are just some possible ideas that I might use during the development of the Dragon Designers after the break ;).

(Jonathan Yu – Grade 10)

In the meantime, please check out the Dragon Designers Pop-up Shop in the back of the PTA store! If you’re reading this, you probably haven’t heard of it or seen the products irl. So please feel free to leave a comment about this whole products, whether you interested in it or not, feedback, or just a simple hello :). Dragon Design is never over <3

7 thoughts on “Reflection 3 (Passion Project V3 Weekly Update #12)

  1. Austin –
    I’m so glad to hear hope and enthusiasm in your post, even with some of the frustrations and slow progress of your Passion Project this year. There are a lot of things I have learned this semester through your project, as well. All start-ups and young business owners run into issues and because we are going through a school and trying to work through organizations that already exist, it is more difficult as we learn those systems and what works and doesn’t work for us.
    I’m looking forward to what the future of Dragon Design(s) holds… Your tenacity and hardwork with be rewarding in the end, I’m sure. Just keep trying, learn from mistakes, continue to look for opportunities and always continue on the kind path that follow… and you will be prosperous (that sounds a bit like an old proverb or cheesy card – but it’s true!)

    Have a great holiday and well deserved (and hopefully creative) break!

    Mrs. Lemley

  2. Hey Austin!

    You have made great progress this semester! I really liked how you took the readers through your successes and obstacles of your project. Moreover, the way you provided possible solutions to your problems showed great problem solving skills, which is always good if you want to have a business. However, you’ve mentioned a problem for your store which is maintaining traffic, do you think there are some long term solutions (posters are short term solutions since people will not come back often).

    Great Job

  3. Hi Austin. Great work on getting your pop-up shop concept up and running. It is difficult to break through the existing structures that are in place at any organization, but that is the nature of being disruptive innovation! You can definitely think of many of the solutions that you have here as MVPs (minimum viable products) that will only evolve and improve with time. What’s important is that you continue to make those improvements – sometimes small and incremental, sometimes big and transformational; both are important! – over time.

    Keep up the great work. I’ve got lots of thoughts on this – some that I’ve shared with Ms. Lemley, some that have just popped into my head – so if you want to chat about it, let me know!

    Mr Hamada

  4. I really enjoyed reading about the process of your project, Austin. It is wonderful to see you continue to pursue your diverse areas of interest. In the 4 or 5 years that I’ve known you, you have always impressed me with the creative ideas that you that you energetically pursue. Remember the Minecraft project where you trudged around the school measuring things for hours? Or spending your independent study time at the pool helping Coach Nic? Or helping me convince a bunch of 8th grade boys to join a synchronized swimming team?

    This most recent Dragon Designs project is your most impressive yet. I am particularly impressed with your reflection on the unanticipated struggles involved with the process. I’m glad to read that “the end of this course does not mean the end of my commitment to this project”, as it sounds like you definitely hit some setbacks. I can empathize in particular with the painful frustrations involved with ordering through the school’s system. When I was teaching Genius Hour, I learned a similar lesson and also ended up just paying myself and getting reimbursed with fapiaos. The struggle there, though, is that vendors are not always willing to provide fapiaos. 🙂

    Anyway, thanks for sending me the link to your blog and I’m proud of you for what you have achieved on this project. Keep being your incredible self because we are all benefiting from your work.

    Have a well deserved holiday!

  5. Austin I love how you end this point, with a commitment to this work beyond just the time you were able to allocate to it! And you have learned something very difficult about working in an large organizational structure…things seems to always take longer. I hope you have what you need by the time we return after break as I love the idea of a permanent spot for student designed products. Good luck and congrats on moving this forward as far as you were able to!

  6. Seriously great project all round! One of my daughters is wearing the pink hoodie all the time! I think you should persevere with this for sure – takes time for new things to catch and hold, this could be one of this things though, that given time could be huge!
    I would commend you for taking the leap outside your comfort zone, and I would encourage you to promote and work with the office to make this a regular fixture here on campus…….

  7. Hi Austin! I’m impressed by the learning that you have experienced through engaging in this project. It seems like you have come to understand that even when someone has a great idea, there are often a lot of different factors to take into account when planning and carrying out that idea, especially when other people need to be a part of carrying it out. Although there may be a keen level of interest in a project, everyone has different priorities and procedures that they need to follow or undertake. This is something I try to continually reflect on and manage, so I understand the challenges around this issue very well!
    I’m interested in learning more about the charity aspect to this work and your future plans. It’s great to hear that this has become a passion for you and I look forward to seeing how things progress into the future. I’ll be sure to check out the Dragon Designers Pop-up Shop before I leave on Winter Break.
    Good luck and please feel free to keep me in the loop about your future work, or if you’d like to have someone else to chat to about your ideas.

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