May 9, 2019 Students’ project impresses Canadian apparel company

2019 - Retail Immersion 3

Tasked with opening her group’s presentation to more than a dozen senior leaders at an international apparel company in Canada, Amy Adams began to speak their language — literally.

Adams, a third-year fashion, retail and logistics management student, began the presentation in French.

The tactic quickly got the attention of and connected with the leaders of Groupe Dynamite, a Montreal-based female apparel retailer, and set the tone for a presentation that ultimately left the company wholly impressed.

Cheyanne Gorley, Jenn Rosenberg, Lily Wang and Adams traveled to Montreal to deliver the presentation as part of their Retail Industry Immersion capstone project. The Fisher students spent the semester formulating recommendations for how Groupe Dynamite might further expand its Garage clothing line into the U.S. market.

“Our project focused on increasing Garage’s brand awareness in the U.S., understanding the target customer in the U.S. compared to Canada, as well as analyzing retail environments to enhance in-store experience,” said Gorley, who graduated this spring and will begin a career as an assistant buyer at Ross Stores in New York City.

Over the course of the semester, the team worked with Doug Farren, instructor of the Retail Industry Immersion program, and Richie Proud, vice president of merchandise planning, allocation and project strategy at Group Dynamite, to better understand the company and its goals. The students surveyed the Garage’s target demographic in the U.S., conducted site visits, completed an analysis of the company’s competitors and evaluated its digital marketing efforts.

2019 - Retail Immersion 2
Students in Fisher's Retail Industry Immersion team pitched to leaders at Groupe Dynamite's Garage apparel brand, including Andrew Lutfy (center), owner and CEO of Groupe Dynamite.

“We know our company’s expansion relies on growing our business in the U.S.,” Proud said. “But the Canadian and U.S. consumer is very different. The students quickly learned about these differences, and each one attacked the project from their positions of strength, whether that was marketing, finance, logistics or merchandising.”

From offering suggestions on how better to stage products inside of Garage’s stores, to enhancing the company’s digital marketing presence, the students’ recommendations were comprehensive.

“Rather than just telling us we should update our Instagram page, they revamped our Instagram images to show us examples,” Proud said. “Rather than saying you should create marketing that accomplishes certain goals, they created it for us and showed us what it would look like. They created phrases and taglines that would resonate emotionally for 18- to 21-year-old females — phrases that spoke to empowerment and confidence.”

“I had one shot to convince my organization that the perspectives of these American students is fairly representative of where we need to go to transform our business. And our team was floored by the presentation. We are currently working with McKinsey & Company on a few projects that relate to our business model.  The feedback that we received from four college students from Ohio State was on-par with the feedback that we are receiving from them. This shows how in touch these students are with the needs of our target demographic.”

For Gorley, the opportunity to provide meaningful recommendations and insights directly to company leaders was both thrilling and nerve-wracking.

“Presenting our project that we worked on for an entire semester to so many inspiring leaders at Groupe Dynamite was one of my biggest accomplishments while studying at Fisher,” she said. “Although our team was a little nervous going into the presentation, it was a great opportunity to prepare us for our future careers and incorporate a real-life experience into our educational careers.”

Said Rosenberg: “This project has, by far, been the most meaningful educational experience during my time at Ohio State. Collaborating with those from a different cultural background definitely brought to light all of the challenges we read about international companies facing. This hands-on experience was extremely valuable in ensuring a well-rounded business education as the retail industry becomes more global.”

In addition to providing the company with actionable insights, the students’ presentation laid the foundation for additional collaboration between Fisher, Ohio State and Groupe Dynamite, and a future location in central Ohio.

“We want to be close to The Ohio State University,” Proud said. “The way we were able to interact with these students, along with the talent level that exists at Ohio State, we want to find a way to be close to them, to be able to use college and campus ambassadors to promote our product as quickly as possible. And we want to continue to engage with the students who worked with us on this project provide additional feedback.”

Industry Immersion Program

The Industry Immersion program helps students dive into a specific industry and stand out in a crowded marketplace — while also giving companies access to top talent and fresh perspectives on their most relevant business challenges in:

  • Business Analytics
  • Business of Sports
  • Consulting
  • Consumer Packaged Goods
  • Energy and Sustainability
  • Health Care
  • Manufacturing System and Design
  • Middle Market
  • Non-Profit
  • Retail