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ODU students show their Navy Pride!

As part of a newly formed partnership between Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) and Old Dominion University (ODU), students from the Fashion Merchandising Product Development class presented their product development projects to a group of senior merchandisers from NEXCOM.

The presentation was a culmination of a semester long project in which the students created a product for possible inclusion in the NEX Navy Pride line.

Throughout the semester the 26 students met with NEXCOM's Navy Pride buyer to gain knowledge about the NEX customer base and the unique demographics of the NEX shopper. They also gained a better understanding of the current Navy Pride vision and process for product selection. Students toured the local NEX, many for the first time, to see firsthand the current Navy Pride product assortment and layout of the store.

"So much in fashion is about collaboration and partnerships," explained Kristen Ducatte, ODU adjunct professor. "I wanted the students to really see how that partnership works and how you often have to create a product from someone else's vision."

"This partnership with NEXCOM allowed the students to truly collaborate and produce a product for someone else," she added.

The student's were inspired by many aspects of the Navy when developing their product, including the sense of pride, demographics of the Navy customer and other products sold within the store. Products presented to the group included pet outerwear, loungewear, infant clothing, tote and computer bags, jackets and T-shirts.

"I did not truly understand the spirit of the Navy and the pride people felt serving in the Navy before this project," said Courtney Perry, an ODU senior studying fashion merchandising. "People in the Navy are really proud, and I wanted to create a product that captured that pride."

"The projects were well researched and hit the primary target classifications that we discussed in class," said Lisa Matthews, NEXCOM Navy Pride buyer. "Their enthusiasm and commitment to the project really showed in the finished products. These students are my primary selling demographic in Navy Pride, so it was especially exciting to see their vision and ideas."

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Along with this session, the NEXCOM/ODU partnership will also offer opportunities for additional fashion merchandising students in areas of market analysis studies and semester-long internships.

The class involved in the market research will assist in conducting focus groups and customer surveys, including data analysis and reporting. Five students were selected to participate in a semester-long internship at NEXCOM headquarters. Interns will work side by side with NEXCOM divisional managers to gain knowledge and experience in all aspects of NEXCOM's retail operations.

"This partnership will really open the students' eyes to the all aspects of the retail industry and what is involved in getting the product to the customers," said Sharon Davis, Fashion Merchandising Program Lead. "NEXCOM will offer opportunities and exposure for students that are not available in the classroom; this allows them to see the scope and depth of a truly unique retail organization."

By Kathleen Martin

Public Affairs Officer Navy Exchange Service Command
COPYRIGHT 2012 U.S. Department of the Navy, Supply Systems Command
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Martin, Kathleen
Publication:Navy Supply Corps Newsletter
Date:Jan 1, 2012
Words:505
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