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Humber Fashion Students Win at the 5th Annual Canadian Retail Educators Association

Written by Rishi Mehta

Fifteen students from all three fashion programs (Fashion Management Bachelor, Postgraduate, and Fashion Arts and Business) participated in the Annual Charette competition organized by Ryerson University in November 2021.

This year, CREA has partnered with Shopify for a one-day Store Hacker Challenge. This one-day challenge involved university and college students from across North America who are passionate about retail. Students were placed into inter-disciplinary teams to develop an e-commerce website for a small business using the Shopify platform. Each team will include approximately 4 students, the small business owner, a student coach, and a dedicated Shopify expert mentor.

Students had 5 hours to launch the store, track sales, and provide a 2-3-minute pitch presentation as a team. Collaboration in the virtual environment was tricky but taught students how to work together through conflicts and deliver within timelines.

Student teams began with gathering all relevant and additional information on the brand's operations from the client. They examined the brand history, product sourcing, inspiration, unique selling propositions, and product classifications. It's also critical to be aware of the brand's values, mission statement, and past consumer data. Such considerations were necessary in order for the entire website to have personality and a sense of visibility in connection to the brand and commodities. After collecting all of the customer's information and brief, student teams started creating the website from scratch. Students intelligently separated the assignment's components depending on each team member's abilities and established an internal deadline to complete the task in four hours, with the remainder of the remaining time, set aside for final touch-ups and analysis.

The event went off without a hitch for our fashion students. They were able to gather a good number of visitors in just one hour. The companies owners were extremely satisfied with the results. They appreciated all student work and thanked the teams for designing their websites. It was something they had always wanted but never had the opportunity to do.

The experience taught students the aspects of easy cashouts, easy navigation, creating a webpage that was aesthetically pleasing and at the same time being efficient and customer-friendly. This project taught students how to think like a client and how to run a back-end system. It was both interesting and educational to work on this project: understanding how to pitch clients, getting a brief from them, discussing the uniqueness of the idea, and then finally starting to design by connecting all the dots and putting it all together in a visually appealing web store. The entire task further taught students how to analyze and adjust to the online behavioral element of the consumer, crucial when setting up a Shopify business.

Great experiential learning opportunity and a reason to be proud of our fashion students.

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