RUNNING A Successful Business
Learning About Running A Successful Business from Successful Alumni Brothers
Returning to their Alma Mater for a panel discussion, Sayville graduates Brendan Barrett (Owner, Sayville-Smithtown Running Company) and his brother Casey Barrett (Sales Representative, Mizuno Corporation) spent some time talking shop with students in the Sayville High School Business Department.
With Business teacher Mr. Chad Cross as moderator, accompanied by technology teacher Mr. William Vogel who often collaborates on Business projects with the classes, the Barrett brothers addressed the students from the Sport’s Marketing and the Business Skills classes on the topics of Marketing Basics & The Power of Branding as well as Essential Business Skills in the Workplace.
After a brief introduction about their backgrounds, i.e., the colleges they attended (Brendan; Notre Dame University and Casey: Fordham University), their athletic involvement with track and cross country, and their majors (Brendan – history and computer applications; Casey – marketing), Brendan acknowledged the common dilemma graduates experience once they finished college. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do.
While pursuing a dream to open a running shoe store in Sayville, Brendan researched the right marketing strategies, considered his choices for locations, and made connections to bring the dream into reality. “I graduated college in 2005,” Brendan told the high school students, “and got the store open by April 2006. From there, with the store in Sayville…I just opened a store in Smithtown this year in May.”
Six years younger, Casey explained how working for his brother in the summer months when he was home from college gave him insights in the retail market, and through internships during college which helped develop his marketing skills, he networked with companies that sold their brand in Brendan’s store. Starting with a company called Saucony, Casey worked two years in a marketing position (called a "Tech Rep" in the industry) and from there, he was hired as a Sales Representative with manufacturer Mizuno where he currently works. “I basically see the product that is coming out in the future—the future of shoes, the future of apparel—and show it off to accounts like Brendan’s….”
During their visit, the Barretts drew from their real-life experiences to answer questions from the moderator and students. Among the many aspects discussed, Brendan explained that running a successful business required promotions to catch the interests of consumers, as well as personalized attention to ensure continued customary satisfaction.
Likewise, Casey was not only enthusiastic about Mizuno’s product line but also with the manufacturer’s online marketing tools that allowed individual retailers to adapt services and programs to attract specialized customers. Successful strategies also yielded national attention for Mizuno. According to an online article posted at McKinney Advertising’s website: “Mizuno implemented one of the most effective U.S. marketing campaigns in recent history. The marketing campaign success was due to cutting the budget in half, and taking the money they saved and spending it by giving away product to prospective customers.”
It became quite evident to the Sayville business department students that both the retailers and the manufacturers needed collaboration on many levels, including sponsorship, brand and logo recognition, and communication skills to succeed in a competitive market.
“Casey and I really had a great time talking to the students and visiting the High School.” Brendan stated.
The feelings were mutual.
“Like always, it was a pleasure having Brendan speak to my classes.” Mr. Cross commented. “This year, my former student, Casey joined him. I couldn't be more elated to have them both paint a picture to my students on what it is truly like in the business world. Each year we try something different, from a store visit, class discussion, or panel discussion. I look forward to next year.”
Overall, the student showed a keen interest in the sporting merchandise as consumers themselves and enjoyed the glimpse into the successful business ventures of the two Sayville brothers.