The budding entrepreneurs in Steven George’s business management class are not only learning how to run their own business. They’re also supporting their school’s sports teams and other groups.

The budding entrepreneurs in Steven George’s business management class are not only learning how to run their own business. They’re also supporting their school’s sports teams and other groups.


The recently opened student-run “HarborGear” sells a variety of merchandise — most of it representing the high school’s sports teams — within the school and online. The class also sold HarborGear products at the recent Christmas in the Square celebration. Students continue to sell HarborGear merchandise during lunch break in the cafeteria, where many of the products are exhibited in a display case.


“Our class decided to pursue the HarborGear project to learn the real-life ins and outs of running a business,” said Kara Norton.


All the merchandise is either red-and-white — the school colors — or bears a logo.


“All the products represent Hingham in some way,” Norton said.


Paige Fallon finds helping to run the store “fun and challenging.” She’s hoping to use the skills she acquires in George’s class to open a clothing store of her own some day.


These items are ones which teams and clubs routinely sell to raise money, but George’s students have taken this effort several steps further by helping these groups market — and sell more of — their products, thereby increasing their profits.


“We feel a sense of satisfaction selling items that were once stored in the basement most of the time,” Fallon said. “A lot of this stuff was sold at Homecoming and then you didn’t see it much after that.” The online store provides the entire Hingham community with an opportunity to buy some of the merchandise.


“This is a good way to let everyone in Hingham know about HarborGear and to support our teams and organizations,” Sean Flannery said. “I think this will start a tradition.”


Matt Sanderson enrolled in George’s class after hearing positive feedback from his fellow students. “Running a store is a chance to work with different people, even ones who aren’t your close friends,” he said.


The products range from football sweat pants and Hingham Harborman Superfan shirts to swim team flip flops and girls soccer travel mugs. Other items include dance team black polo shirts; boys soccer chairs and cleat bags; child development cookbooks; Class of 2010 flannel pants and key chains; a chorus CD; gymnastics team tank tops; Class of 2008 shirts and shorts; Class of 2009 “Property of Hingham High School” products; wrestling team car magnets; hockey T-shirts; and Amnesty International bottle cap pins.


One of the best-selling items, yoga pants, is an original HarborGear product, designed by members of the class.


The students are learning about everything from profit margins to marketing techniques and even how to learn from their mistakes.


“This is the best project students in my classes have done so far. The kids were already good at solving problems, and now they’re learning to identify them on their own,” George said. “It’s a good way to increase school pride.” The idea came from a similar endeavor at a school in the Midwest.


A portion of the proceeds goes to the teams and organizations. Some of the money will go toward a business-related educational field trip and another portion to the High School “Going Green (environment-friendly)” project.


Each of the 24 students enrolled in the class is assigned to a team, each with a group leader.


Before the store got off the ground, members of the product team talked with sports team and class representatives to discuss which merchandise the school store would sell.


The Web design team initiated the HarborGear website using skills acquired in George’s Web design class. The operations team makes crucial decisions about the ordering and delivery of the products and is in charge of getting them to customers. The marketing team promotes the project.


HarborGear is run by three student “executives” who make decisions about how to run the store.


Courtney Smith, who helped design the Web site, said she is “learning both the ups and downs of running a business. It’s not easy. It takes a lot of effort and time,” she said.


Classmate Caroline Kingston is acquiring good communication skills, which she believes “is key to running a successful business.”


HarborGear products are shipped to customers all over town, just as another business might. This also takes away the complications of requiring customers to pick up merchandise at the school or having students drop it off at their homes or businesses.


HarborGear is available on the town website – www.hingham-ma.gov under “Schools and Education.” Click the school store link under “Hingham High School.” For further information, e-mail harborgear@hinghamschools.com.