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Special School District of St. Louis County
 
Southview Graduate Turns Interests
Into Successful Business

Eric Fefferman’s interest in classic collectibles has led to a successful business – one he built from the ground up.

“What I sell is fun,” said Eric. “I like waking up in the morning knowing that I’ll be working with some of my favorite things: classic comic books, super heroes, Disney collectibles, items from history and more.”

Eric, a 2014 graduate of SSD’s Southview School, has used his educational success and support from family, educators, and community to not only begin his own business, but also to excel in running all aspects of his business, Evolve Collectibles.

Eric’s business keeps him busy on a daily basis. He acquires and sells classic figurines, illustrated comics and literature from the 1940s and 1950s, action figures, vintage board games, entertainment memorabilia and more.    

Some of his tasks include ensuring his displays look nice, organizing merchandise, maintaining his website and Facebook page, preparing for vendor fairs and keeping an eye on his business budget. “It also takes time to keep up with maintaining good records,” he said.

Eric began his education at Southview at the age of 12. His mother, Cindy Fefferman Appel, said the team at Southview welcomed Eric and he was allowed to blossom at his own pace. 

“They respected Eric, and me as his best advocate,” said Appel. “He went from being a terrified young man to a happy and valued model student.”

By working together as a team, parents and educators help students to be successful. Eric learned many skills at Southview, including gaining the habit of writing down his thoughts before meetings.

“I still use that skill before important calls and when meeting with my bank,” said Eric.

Eric said that Southview was a positive place and the staff worked well with him and his family. “It’s a good thing when a student knows that home and school are on the same page and are a team.”

He added that his education and the teamwork helped him gain an unshakeable confidence. “When you have a positive attitude at home and school, it makes all the difference,” Eric said. “I now try things and give myself the chance to succeed.”

Paul Bauer, SSD’s assistant superintendent for learning and assessment, said that Eric’s success is a positive example of how a student can turn a personal interest into a thriving business.

“It shows that a student with a disability can develop the skills and knowledge to be an independent, tax-paying business person – a truly successful graduate and contributor to society,” said Bauer.

Bauer said that Eric worked hard to accomplish his goals – personal, and educational.

“Eric’s mother was a tireless advocate for him,” said Bauer. “She never gave up on working with Eric’s school to meet his needs and prepare him for independent life after graduation. His teachers and principals communicated continuously with his mother and were open to all of her ideas, and found a way to make many of them work.”

Eric, his mom, and the staff at Southview all agreed that getting as much education in math as possible would help him build a business and accomplish his goals.

“I learned enough math at Southview that I can easily maintain my business account, fill out order sheets, and know how much I must charge for an item to make a profit,” Eric said. “I work with taxes and shipping charges too.”

Eric has this advice for his peers: “Life is on-the-job training and you have to work it.”

Eric not only sells his merchandise at vendor fairs, but also has two display cases in the St. Louis South County Antique Mall at 13208 Tesson Ferry Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63128.

arrow icon To see Eric’s collectibles, visit www.evolvecollectibles.com.

Eric Fefferman
Eric Fefferman

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Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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