“Small Business Start-Up” is an integral component of our Fashion Design and Merchandising program. It is in this environment where students in the Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences acquire real-life experiences in ways to plan assortments, sell products, analyze sales figures – and perhaps most importantly – decipher customer behavior.
Calling all holiday shoppers who are letting their keyboards do the walking! This year’s start-up stores, typically open at UHM Campus Center, are now on Instagram! Wahine Haus and 437 Charming feature products handmade by our FDM students themselves, infused with the Hawaiian spirit and nature.
“At first, I wasn't sure how students can gain valuable hands-on experience online, but all of our FDM 437 students have been so passionate about this opening and managing the online stores, from planning/creating products to selling products by communicating with customers!” says Young Bahng. “Both the groups' missions and goals for the businesses are to offer unique handmade goods to the community of Hawai'i, supporting local businesses because they are the people who’ve taken a major hit from the pandemic.”
The FDM students, working in groups of six, manage the online stores throughout the semester. Merchandising is responsible for mark-ups, mark-downs, sales and profit analysis, and overall financial performance of the online business. Marketing is in charge of advertising and promotion, setting up a target market, communication with customers, and analysis of customer's reactions to the store. Web Design developed the Instagram sites and is posting photos, adding and organizing product/seller photos and video clips to attract viewers.
“The students keep evaluating their online retail business performance, try different marketing strategies, and are working hard to overcome barriers/weaknesses of their business,” says Young. “I'm very proud of my FDM 437 students, the near future entrepreneurs.”