Have You Heard of Spirit Box?
Have you heard of the Spirit Box? Chances are that if you live in the Kansas City, Washington, D.C., or Southwest Missouri, you have.
The Spirit Box program is an Automated Retail Program, allowing DECA chapters and school-based enterprises to offer mobile device accessories, custom t-shirts, school supplies and other items to the student body, faculty/staff and parents 24/7.
Don’t have any cash on you? No problem! The Spirit Box accepts credit cards, debit cards, Google Wallet and Apple Pay!
Spirit Box first launched in Virginia, Kansas, and Missouri in 2014, and quickly gained popularity across the country.
“We currently have a waiting list of almost 100 schools, but we’ve had to be strategic about expansion, because of the cost to get a school up and running, as well as to properly support the Spirit Box teams throughout the school year,” explained Philip Baird, owner of Spirit Factory, creator of the Spirit Box program and a DECA National Advisory Board member.
“One of the biggest challenges has been developing the right business model and go-to-market strategy. We began piloting this concept more than five years ago and have learned so much along the way, pivoting multiple times. Looking back, if we had tried to scale at any other time, it would have been premature, very expensive and potentially fatal to the program,” Baird added.
Spirit Factory and Spirit Box are headquartered in Springfield, Mo. It has had an interesting journey of ownership. Baird explained that he was a project manager for the third largest yearbook company, Kansas City based Walsworth Yearbooks, where he was put in charge of starting and developing the program.
A couple years after launching the program in a few Kansas City area schools, Walsworth decided to focus their resources on other projects more closely related to their core business, which is helping schools with creating, selling and distributing yearbooks.
“At that point, a company called Stingray Worldwide out of Dallas, Texas, that partnered with Walsworth early in the endeavor, purchased Spirit Factory and Spirit Box, and hired me to continue managing the company,” explained Baird.
Baird recently purchased the company from Stingray Worldwide and now runs it with his team in his hometown of Springfield, Mo.
“I feel that the story of the Spirit Box program is a perfect example of entrepreneurship and business development, which I love sharing with the DECA members we work with. Entrepreneurship is such a hot topic right now amongst Millennials, and I get to share all the lessons I’ve learned along the way, using the Spirit Box as a real, tangible example,” said Baird.
The Spirit Box program has been designed to fit within DECA chapters of all shapes and sizes. Whether you have an existing school-based enterprise, are looking for a hands-on project, or want a very hands-off fundraiser, Spirit Factory can help.
“We’ve developed a variety of program packages with different focuses, like fundraising, project-based, or just an extension of your school-based enterprise,” Baird explained.
“We are also excited to launch our Spirit Box Student Advisory Board in January 2017,” added Baird. “This will allow us to get feedback directly from the participating board members comprised of students that are on the Spirit Box teams at their school.”
Spirit Factory will be expanding the Spirit Box program into the Dallas, Texas, area, as well as growing its presence in Kansas City and Washington, D.C., for the 2017-2018 school year. Sign up to learn more here.
“We are open to partnering with DECA chapters in any area of the country. We are entrepreneurs and it’s hard for us to say no to a school group that could benefit from the program, but we need there to be 15+ schools within 50 miles of each other to properly support the program throughout the school year,” Baird explained. “As of right now, we are laser focused on Dallas, Kansas City, and D.C.”
Want to Implement Spirit Box at Your School?
The number of spots available for the 2017-2018 school year is limited, and Spirit Factory hopes to solidify the group of 2017-2018 participating schools by April 10, 2017.
To learn more about implementing the Spirit Box program at your school, contact the Spirit Factory team now. They will reach out to you to determine which Spirit Box program would be the best fit for your DECA chapter or school group.