The First Atlanta – Caribbean Trading Company (ACTCo) Catalog – a Student Run Enterprise (1994-1995)

The North Atlanta High School International Business Program provided its students with a tax exempt corporation for hands on lessons in entrepreneurship.  The first marketing strategy was to sell arts and crafts from a display case located in my classroom.  Naturally, this plan proved to be disruptive to learning – it was also too limited for increasing sales. 

The program and company soon approached the Media Center to use a display window located near the entrance to showcase goods.  That helped in reaching a wider in-school market but also proved ineffective for growing the business. 

In 1994 – 1995, the IBP / ACTCo initiated a wholesale component – sell goods directly to small businesses such as gift shops, furniture stores, jewelry stores, specialty retail shops.  Gross sales increased but remained at a marginal level until the construction and opening of the Warrior Warehouse School Store in 1997 that finally provided a daily income stream.

Catalog front cover:

         

Marketing message to wholesale and retail customers:

         

The Kente’ Rose, produced by NAHS librarian Sheila Howard, was the best selling craft line.  The silk rose’s appearance was morphed for every holiday to

provide customers with an inexpensive and beautiful gift to show some one that they cared for them.

         

The Little Baskets of Carla Higgins and Harmony Hall’s Annabella Boxes and related greeting cards were core lines that sold well for a decade.

         

The leather masks of Jean Dominique Boudot were the most expensive and prestigious craft line that ACTCo represented.  A mask with two heads was the top of the line and sold for $95.  Boudot’s company was actually in Ocho Rios and had to be discontinued in 1997 due to his disappearance and apparent death. 

         

The art works of Nzimbu Browne were well received.  The goat skin line was discontinued after several years due to a shortage of goats on the island of St. Vincent.

         

The metal art of Sandy Burgoyne and her fabricating business located just outside of Montego Bay was a core line and sold very well.

         

As Chair of the Atlanta – Rio de Janeiro Sister Cities Committee, I started a business relationship with the prestigious H. Stern Company to distribute arts, crafts, and jewelry lines that the company sold only in one store in Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana area. 

         

Cuban art prints were distributed by the Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica and was a core line.  This line had to be scrapped early on due to the U. S. embargo of communist Cuba that prevented ACTCo from obtaining a steady supply of goods. 

                   

The above art prints were supplied by a wholesaler located in the British Virgin Islands.  They did not sell well and were soon discontinued.

The below invoice supported the orders taken by ACTCo wholesalers and was also designed with an e-commerce startup the following year.   

         

In 1996, the IBP / ACTCo designed web site www.actco.org as a platform for engaging in e-commerce through online catalog development.

1997, the IBP and ACTCo constructed the Warrior Warehouse School Store from a Leavey Foundation Entrepreneurship Education Award.