Heading toward future businesses

Incubator group creates heated poncho


Madison Ward

Seniors Isaac Bustos and Christin Bingham work on calculations for their 'Oackie' poncho.

Courtesy of Abigail Cordova.

As the INCubatoredu class proceeds through the school year, business teacher Valerie Cooper ordered students to form into groups and produce a product. With anticipation to one day see their products in stores worldwide, one of the INCubator groups, consisting of seniors Adam Hudson, Isaac Bustos and Christin Bingham and juniors Lauren Erickson and Abigail Cordova, came up with the concept of the ‘Oackie.’

“I believe this program allows students to experience what real-world entrepreneurs and business professionals do every day,” Cooper said. “They have to create and manage everything from interviews, marketing tactics, business communications, purchases, accounting statements, sales pitches and more.”

After careful time spent brainstorming, the team finally decided on creating a marketing idea by making a product the public has never seen before.

“At first, we had a product but we thought it wasn’t good after all so we pivoted,” Bingham said. “We pivoted about two times until we finally decided on the ‘Oackie.’”

The ‘Oackie’ is a poncho that heats and is also waterproof. The inspiration behind the ‘Oackie’ developed from the creators experiencing events in their everyday lives.

“We were all talking as a group about how we hate being cold and how we wish there was an improved way to stay warm,” Hudson said. “I think it will benefit consumers by allowing them to remain more comfortable in cold weather.”

With the creation of the product, the students go through a rigorous process in deciding how they want it to appear. The group is currently in the beginning stages of designing the ‘Oackie.’

“[We are] figuring out exactly what material we are going to use, how it’s going to work and where we are going to get it from,” Hudson said.

The ‘Oackie’ is a physical product which makes it stand out from the rest of the groups because they have chosen digital options for the class.

“It’s a clothing brand,” Bingham said. “All the [other teams’] products are either apps or websites.”

Although the ‘Oackie’ takes inspiration from products such as the Snuggie, it still has its own unique aspects.

“We came up with the design by interviewing students and teachers [about] what features they’d want [on the product] and drew a design,” Hudson said. “It’s the first jacket/poncho to have a heating element that is also waterproof.”

Creating the product is exciting for the group members as they receive a chance to develop a product that could eventually become important in the business industry.

“The most exciting [part] is creating a product that solves an everyday problem,” Hudson said. “I think it will benefit the consumers by allowing them to remain more comfortable in cold weather.”

The team faces conflicts which eventually could lead to the fall of their set scheduled plan. In a team, communication is a crucial component and when messed up, it can ruin the process.

“The biggest struggle we’ve faced is miscommunication as a team with our mentor which set us back a couple weeks,” Hudson said.

Students in Cooper’s class are grateful they’ve had an experience in developing the product. This class makes students feel excited for what life has in store for them.

“The overall fact that we designed a whole product and getting it manufactured is pretty great,” Bingham said. “By making this product, it has taught me if you really put your mind to something, you can actually do it. I hope my team and I will sell more products in the future and actually make it [into a] business.”