‘DeCats’ are doing enterprise in Los Gatos – The Mercury Information

Combine the words “decals” and “cats” and you come up with “DeCats,” which is a start-up business being run by four Los Gatos High School students for their honors English class.

The DeCats girls join a host of other Los Gatos High sophomores who are participating in an entrepreneurial business-learning competition that sees students in Mike Bollhorst’s classes divide into teams, develop business plans and start selling their products. The team that makes the most money wins the competition.

The DeCats are selling decals with a Cat in the Hat theme, an LGHS football helmet, an outer space galaxy cat, sunflowers and another number called “Los Gatos Thorns & Roses.”

The DeCats team members are Riley Bernat, Dana Jaco, Maddie Abene and Shea O’Gorman.

“Everyone in Los Gatos always has Santa Cruz stickers, so we wanted to make a way for people here to represent Los Gatos,” Shea explained. “Everyone really likes them. We’ve sold a lot to kids and teachers.”

Members of the public can purchase the decals at the farmers market on April 21. There are two sizes, selling for $1 and $3. “We thought people would be more willing to spend just a little money,” Dana said.

A sticker that shows a growling wildcat super-imposed on a California flag is a top seller, with Riley saying, “The Republic of Los Gatos has been very popular.”

She went on to say that the stickers can go just about anywhere. “You can put them on your car, binder, your door or skateboard,” Riley said. “Our Spanish teacher put them on her podium. Lots of people have them on their phones.”

To date the girls have sold about $600 worth of decals. When the final total is tallied the DeCats plan to give the money to the humane society. “We figured because we’re centered around Los Gatos that it would be great to help cats and dogs,” Riley said.

Seed money for the project came from the Los Gatos Rotary Club, whose members gave them $83 to help cover initial costs. “We pointed out our Facebook page to them, showing we had positive feedback and that we had potential sales lined up,” Dana said.

But as is the case with so many newly-launched businesses, the girls had glitches to overcome. “The printing company messed up the first batch; half of them were bad and didn’t have stick-em on them,” Dana said.

“We didn’t find out about the problem for a week,” Riley added.

So the girls replaced the bad stickers with good ones and are now hitting their stride, while learning the ins and outs of running a business at the same time.

“I know it’s a cliche, but if you really want to achieve something, you can,” Shea said. “Now we’re all selling and doing well.”

The entrepreneurial business-learning competition includes a team that has developed a Los Gatos cookbook, plus other teams selling fudge, Rice Krispies treats and homemade muffins. The competition ends May 3.

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