Name: Joseph Justice
Project Name: Pizza Edge Merchandise
Emphasis: Social Media Marketing
Throughout my years of studying Social Media Marketing at both Ensign College and BYU-Idaho, I’ve worked with a multitude of small business owners to help them get their products, services and business presence onto various social media platforms. My goal for this project was to be able to use my education and experience with social media as leverage to help my dad’s restaurant sell merchandise online. This project has multiple stages, and I still find myself in the midst of a couple of those stages due to factors outside of my control. That being said, I feel vey satisfied in what I myself have been able to accomplish, and I plan on continuing this project to completion, even after my Senior Project class is over.
My initial interest in starting this project came from years of working at my Dads pizza restaurant growing up. Sometimes a customer would come in and ask if we had any shirts or other merchandise for sale. Pizza Edge is a pillar of the community and has many loyal diners, so I wasn’t surprised whenever somebody showed interest in repping the restaurant. Sadly, neither I nor any of my coworkers were ever able to fulfill these requests because we didn’t have a system in place to be able to sell the Pizza Edge branded shirts that we did have. So when brainstorming what I could do for a substantial senior project, fixing this issue for my family’s business instantly excited me.
The first thing I had to do was start on sourcing the merchandise I wanted to sell for Pizza Edge. Pizza Edge has always had a loyal relationship with a screen printing company in St. George, Utah. From Pizza Edge’s start they have helped us with creating and branding shirts and hats for the Pizza Edge employees to wear as uniforms. My dad reached out to them and got me connected with the owners there, to be the suppliers of the merchandise moving forward. After months of back and forth emails, and really getting nowhere with the product, I finally took the 9 hour round trip drive to their office to meet with them in person and work out the logistical issues that were hindering this project. One of Pizza Edge’s biggest needs that needed to be met by our supplier was that they needed to be able to do direct-to-consumer sales for us. Meaning, they needed to be able to fulfill and ship out the orders themselves, so that Pizza Edge didn’t need to employ somebody else to do it. After going to the screen printers office, they finally admitted that they weren’t going to be able to meet that expectation. Seeing as how a lot of time and effort could’ve been avoided if they had been upfront with me at the beginning of the process, that was a very disappointing point in the project. Now I’m back square one as far as sourcing goes, but again, I 100% plan on seeing this project through to the end. And I know that going through that experience will help me so much in eventually finding the right supplier.
In the midst of all of these back and forth emails with the screen printing company, I was able to create logos and nail down product ideas for the merchandise. My vision included two separate lines of merchandise. One line would be a basic t-shirt, hoodie and hat with our most current logo on it. This would be a mainstay on our product offerings and would rarely change. These products would also serve as the more budget-friendly option. For the second line of products, I wanted to create a limited edition line of “throwback” merch. The throwback line would use Pizza Edge’s Original logo from the 80’s and would be printed on Champion™️ branded clothing. This would be marked up higher, but would be an exciting option for the consumer to buy limited edition merch.
The screen printing company that Pizza Edge has always worked with has always helped create and keep all Pizza Edge logo designs and assets. When I showed them a picture of the original logo that I wanted to incorporate into the new merchandise, they searched for it for awhile, but were never able to find it. So I used my graphic design knowledge and skills to recreate it in Procreate. Here are a couple versions of the logo I created, one with just the logo, and another with the logo on a shirt.
Another very important aspect of this project is Pizza Edge’s intentions to give back to the community in the process. We have decided that all profits made from the throwback line will be donated to the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center as part of their efforts in the fight against missing and murdered indigenous women and girls (MMIWG). We think it’s important that we acknowledge the community that has supported Pizza Edge from it’s founding, and offer help the those especially at risk in our communities.
Unexpected Developments and Success
Despite being hindered at multiple key stages in this project, I did strike it lucky in the social media aspect of the project. Although I have created an email for the project (
) and started the instagram page I plan on advertising the products on (@pizzaedgemerch), I haven’t been able to do a lot with them yet since I don’t have the first samples of clothing to take pictures of and post with. That being said, I did start this project with a measure of personal social media influence in the local communities where Pizza Edge is located. With that little influence that I did have, I took to my personal TikTok page and started working on growing a following specifically from the community where Pizza Edge calls home— the Navajo Nation. Through these efforts, I quickly amassed almost seven thousand followers on TikTok and five hundred followers on Instagram (growth data graphs below). Although most of my posted videos have consisted of funny “if you know you know” content about growing up on the reservation, I have consistently been able to connect with my audience and keep them up-to-date on this project through using TikTok and Instagram Live. On these lives, I have received overwhelming support and excitement for the release of the merchandise, and I feel that there are many people in Pizza Edge’s target market that are genuinely eager to buy this merchandise.
(TikTok follower count graph)
(My followers top locations)
(Screen cap of Instagram Live where I’m talking about this project to my followers.)
Now, I know I still have a lot more work to accomplish before this project is done. Already I’ve put well over 50 hours of works and thought into this project, and I know it will take well over 50 more to complete it. To be specific in what I feel is still required moving forward, I’ll need to find a reliable supplier that can fulfill and ship any orders that we get, and I’ll need to create and post content with the merchandise to advertise it on social media. I still feel very much that I’m in the first phase of this project, but luckily there are so many aspect of it that I’m passionate about and personally invested in.