Spring 2017 Newsletter 

Greetings from Executive Director 
  Jerry O'Brien 

The snow is melted, spring is here, and summer is fast approaching.   As we look back,  2016-2017 has been another wonderful year for our students. 

Our partners and friends continue to provide support.  That support allows us to make a wide variety of opportunities available to our students.  And the result is an ever expanding awareness of the immense array of opportunities available to them in the retailing industry.

Our partners and friends are well aware of the tectonic changes going on in the industry.  And our students are aware also.  The news can sometimes make it seem like the opportunity for great careers in retail is fading.  However thanks to the involvement of industry professionals, the case studies, and the chance to attend conferences our students know the opposite to be true.  The rapid pace of change in the industry is opening ever more opportunities. 
Thanks to our wonderful faculty, our students are well prepared for and optimistic about the industry.  Our graduates are ready to lead and innovate.  The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a history of educating students to lead and have impact.  We are very proud to continue that tradition. 
With sincere gratitude to all of our friends, partners and supporters,

Oh, The Places They'll Go!
Where Graduating Seniors are Headed Next

Nikki Lee- Walgreens
Merchandising and Marketing Development Program Analyst

This is a 2-year Analyst Rotational Program where I will develop an understanding of Merchandising for in-store and e-commerce. Rotations will be in areas such as Assortment Optimization Insights, Pricing, Owned Brand Product Development, Insights, or Category Specialist. The rotations will be tailored to my interests and what skills I want to grow.  I will be relocating to the Chicago Area and working out of the Northern Suburbs of Deerfield/Northbrook as well as the Downtown office. 

What helped you at UW to achieve a full-time offer?
Taking advantage of the opportunities outside of school helped me discover my passion. I was very involved with Student Retail Association where I developed my networking skills with industry professionals and gained experience by attending the Magic Trade show in Vegas and Retail's Big Show in New York. 

Maggie Boyle- Kohl's
Merchandise Analyst Trainee 

I will be part of Kohl's Merchandise Analyst Training Program, which combines classroom and hands on learning. The classroom learning includes retail financial analysis and Excel practice. Outside of classes I will be spending majority of the workday analyzing sales and carrying out the replenishment and allocation process.  I am looking forward to meeting my team and learning about the products and brands that I'll be working with. 

What helped you at UW to achieve a full-time offer?
Consumer Science 250 and the Student Retail Association were two experiences that exposed me to leaders within the retail industry. I learned so much about retail trends and had opportunities to network with Kohl's employees. This class and club helped me get my foot in the door and prepared me for my interview and internship with Kohl's.


When Activism is Good for Business
Faculty Feature

This spring, Consumer Science Professor Dee Warmath chatted with Wisconsin Public Radio about the growing trend of Retail Activism. 
From Lyft's decision to donate $1 million to the ACLU to Starbucks' promise to hire thousands of refugees, it seems like plenty of big name brands are engaging with activism. A consumer science expert tells us why companies are becoming more comfortable mixing business with politics. 

 on how to engage in retail activism through "buycotting."

Introducing Lorna Nagler
Fall 2017 Alumni Executive in Residence

Lorna Nagler will serve as the Center for Retailing's Alumni Executive in Residence in the fall.  Lorna's storied career will certainly be an asset to the role and to the students interested in exploring the retailing industry. 

Lorna E. Nagler is a 38 year veteran of the retail and apparel industry. From Buyer to CEO, Lorna possesses an extensive resume in her chosen field. Her career highlights include positions at Montgomery Wards and Kids R Us, a division of Toys R Us, SVP/General Merchandise Manager at K-Mart, and President of Catherine's Stores, a leading plus-sized retailer. As President, Lorna led Catherine's launch of a highly successful ecommerce division as well as the re-launch of their private label brand program. 

Lorna has also served as President of Lane Bryant within the Charming Shoppes portfolio. While there, she stabilized the culture within and led the rebuilding of Lane Bryant into a dynamic work environment focused on brand, growth and creativity. Under her tutelage, a new Brand Blueprint for the chain was born and implemented. Included in the undertaking was the launch of the Cacique intimate apparel store; the development of a "new fit system" for plus sizes; the addition of the company's first-ever outside brands to its merchandise mix; the launching of ecommerce and the roll out of a Vendor Managed Inventory System which significantly increased profitability. 

Lorna also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Christopher and Banks from August 2007 - October 2010, and was responsible for the vision and direction for both the Christopher & Banks and C.J. Banks brands. From January 2011 to February 2016 she served as President of Bealls Department Stores bringing her wealth of knowledge of the retail and fashion industry and a bright new outlook for a store that's all about the Florida Lifestyle. 

She also currently sits on the Board of Directors for ULTA Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. a Fortune 500 and NASDAQ 100 high growth, omni channel retailer of all things beauty all in one place. 

While her passion for her profession is evident by her long string of success stories, it is no secret to those in the know that Lorna is truly a lover of animals, is a strong supporter of children's charities, revels in the beauty, brilliance and uplifting nature of the arts, and is a diehard Badger fan who is devoted to the University of Wisconsin. Lorna Nagler graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Retailing. She met her husband, Bill, at the University of Wisconsin, and they reside on Siesta Key, Florida. 

Celebrating Retail's Future in NYC
January 11-15 | New York City

A group of 31 students attended the National Retail Federation's annual trade show in New York City this winter.

The students began their January trip with visits to  Trunk Club's NYC Clubhouse,  The Doneger GroupMacy's Herald Square offices, and  Kohl's design office. The corporate experience was followed by two busy days of the  National Retail Federation's Student Program, which included talks from fashion designer  Rebecca Minkoff and leadership expert  Simon Sinek, a financial literacy session, career fair, and a small-group executive mentoring experience. The students concluded their trip exploring retail's newest technological innovations at the  NRF's annual BIG Show.
Read more about New York City adventures here.

Von Maur: The New Store in Town 
March 10 | Brookfield, WI 

UW-Madison students got a sneak peak into Von Maur's first Wisconsin store before the April 8 Grand Opening.

Von Maur opened the doors of its first Wisconsin store at The Corners of Brookfield lifestyle Center on April 8, 2017. A month before the grand opening, UW-Madison students visited the location to experience what it takes to build, staff, merchandise, and ultimately open a new Von Maur location. 

Thank you, Von Maur! 

Students engaged in a hands-on merchandising activity to prepare the Women's Activewear department for grand opening.

International Home + Housewares  Trade Show
March 20 | Chicago 

Students in the Retailing & Consumer Behavior major had the unique opportunity to attend the annual  International Home + Housewares trade show  in Chicago this March.

Along with over 50 students from universities across the country, this group networked with CEOs, vendors, inventors, and buyers. Discussions flourished ab out the future talent o f t he home and housewares industry, especially when the students received sage career advice from the industry's young professionals at a round table session.  

Click HERE to learn more about College Experience Day at the show! 

Lands' End Design Challenge
Real-World Experience

At the end of the Fall 2016 semester, Lands' End hosted a Design Challenge for students in the Textiles & Fashion Design program. Adrienne Bestul, Director- Employee Services at Lands' End takes us on an inside look into this wonderful partnership.
The Lands' End Design C hallenge c onsists of UW-Madison students desig ning a gar ment for Lands' End while keeping the Lands' End c ustomer, brand, quality and value in mind.  Typically, the  Design C hallenge has focused on outerwear but we have also included a handbag c o mpetition in the past. The Lands' End Design team presents the ch allenge and cr iteria to the  students, meets with them to discuss con cepts and provides feedback and mentorship throughout the pro cess. 
Each student shares their finished garment to a panel of designers (and merchants) from Lands' End for final judging and scholarship consideration.  As part of the presentation the students speak to the concept, creative and technical design process, an overview of fit, fabric, inspiration, key garment details and their connection to the Lands' End customer.
Lands' End provides academic scholarship awards to the top finalists.  All students are encouraged to apply for the Lands' End 12-week summer design internship experience.

Fashion Scholarship Fund
Six UW Students Win $5,000 and One $10,000

This January, students and faculty celebrated the future of the fashion industry at the annual YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Gala in New York City.
At the gala, six UW-Madison students were awarded $5,000 scholarships for their exemplary work in the Fashion Scholarship Fund case study addressing a partnership opportunity between Macy's and Etsy:
  • Randi Armstrong, Retailing & Consumer Behavior
  • Katelyn Howard, Marketing 
  • Brian Lucksinger, Marketing & Management
  • Kate Nelsen, Textiles & Fashion Design
  • Emma Conklin, Textiles & Fashion Design
  • Keira Hockers, Textiles & Fashion Design
Textiles & Fashion Design student Em Kinville was also awarded a $10,000 scholarship as a finalist in the prestigious Geoffrey Beene scholarship program. 

Meet Em and learn more about her aspirations as a designer in the fashion industry 

Em Kinville
Kohl's Invitational Case Competition
UW Advances Two Teams to the Top 12

The Kohl's Invitational is a business case competition that centers on today's changing retail industry. This year, students were asked to generate an innovative idea that would drive customers into Kohl's stores in the era of digital retail.

Two teams of students from UW-Madison qualified to the Top 12 of the competition and traveled to Kohl's headquarters in Milwaukee to present their ideas to top executives. 

The team of Sara Hemmer, Jacqueline Dubnicka, Taylor Amann, and Jordan Becker developed a program called Tying the Knot that drives traffic into brick and mortar stores through local in-store bridal registry and wedding planning events.

Katie Steib, Andrew Jones, Emily Chu, and Christina Vechsathol focused on sustainability through their idea of EcoPoints which leverages Kohl's Yes2You rewards program by providing incentive's for customers that order online and pick-up in store. This would drive foot traffic into Kohl's stores as well as save the expenditures around shipping online purchases. 


Macy's Marketing Challenge 
UW Team Travels to NYC to Present to Senior Leaders 

Macy's annual undergraduate marketing competition challenged students to generate campaigns to create brand exclusivity for the popular retailer.  

Because of their creative answer to the challenge, a UW-Madison team made up of students Zoe Jalil, Emily Pratt, Natalie Herold, and Sophie Minter were invited to visit the Macy's boardroom in New York City in April to present to a group of senior leaders.  Congrats to the team! 


2nd Annual JOAMM Case Competition
Students Practice Social Listening & Digital Design Acumen
This spring, the Center for Retailing, the IDEA Incubator, Infegy, and Adobe partnered to provide a unique learning opportunity in the second annual JOAMM Case Competition.

Infegy is a leading provider of what is known as social listening or the ability to extract meaningful insights from the millions of conversations taking place online every second of every day for the past 10 years.  With their Creative Cloud, Adobe is the gold standard for changing the world through digital experiences and is increasingly a required resource for anyone wishing to share ideas that inspire and engage. Students had a chance to take a first step toward an idea that could change the world. 

We had three exceptional teams participate. Each team challenged their selves in using both new and familiar programs. Students were prompted to define a white space opportunity in a competitive analysis of three competitive brands. From a new mobile app, adapting to a new target market, and international expansion, judges were in for a debate. Each team did an exceptional job. The winners as follows:
  • 1 st place: Nick Birkby, Kenzi Tijerino, Luke Pitzo
  • 2 nd  place: Ava Buechel, Emma Brandenburg & Katie Steib
  • 3 rd Place: Claire Conroy, Hayley Everett, Lily Johnson & Paula Prolla.
Thank you to all of our participants and judges for plugging in from Adobe, flying in from Infegy and donating their evening from the SoHE staff. Students exemplified their teamwork, expanded their digital knowledge, demonstrated strategic analysis and challenged themselves beyond their limits. 

Product Development Strategies in Retail  
Spotlight on Retailing & Consumer Behavior Course

This course, led by Professor Nancy Murray, addresses merchandise product development planning through market trend analysis, assortment planning and sourcing production.  

Click   HERE  to learn about this innovative and interactive course, including a visit to Lands' End, prestigious guest speakers, and trend/inspiration board projects. 

Career Ecology: Industry Night 
Annual Alumni + Student Event 

Over 150 students attended the School of Human Ecology's annual Career Ecology event in February. 

Retailing and Fashion Industry Alumni Panel
This year's event emphasized the power of networking in the various in dustries School of Human Ecology students pursue. Included in the event were an  interactive keynote address about the LinkedIn Power Formula by expert Wayne Breitbarth, industry breakout sessions featuring 

SoHE alumni, and an opportunity to get a free LinkedIn photo.

A special thank you goes out to the Retailing and Fashion Industry Alumni that volunteered their time to enlighten and inspire the future SoHE graduates entering their industry:
  • Logan Floyd, Kohl's 
  • Abby Braatz, Sherwin Williams
  • Ali Wangard, Jockey
  • Gina Stubenvoll, Kohl's
  • Madalyn Manzeck, Madalyn Joy Designs
  • Ellen Keesey, Bon Ton

Threads: Ensemble
Annual School of Human Ecology Fashion Show

A group of 50+ students collaborated and worked incredibly hard during the Spring se mest er to put together  an incredible fashion to showcase UW-Madison Textiles and Fashion Design students' work. 

F rom first year students' work to Senior thesis collections, a violinist, and dancers, this years  show was anincredible representation of the collaboration happening on campus. Students hosted around 900 attendees and transformed Madison's grand Masonic Center auditori um in to a runway. 

The theme "Ensemble" truly was the foundation on which the show was built work together as a whole:
From the eclectic selection of runway designs to live music and dance, Ensemble is meant to be experienced from many perspectives. The production engages a range of audiences through a mash-up of classical and contemporary music and design. With a shared vision, we create unity in diversity, embrace the essence of inclusivity, and celebrate each element of an Ensemble

See you at next year's show!
Threads Ensemble Fashion Show
Watch Threads Ensemble Fashion Show

Retail Leadership Symposium

Spring Semester 2017


Thank you to the following companies for presenting in the Retail Leadership Symposium during the Spring 2017 semester. Your presence on campus and in the classroom benefit our program, and most importantly, our students and their futures in the retail industry! 


Read the semester recap HERE and then click on the name of the organization to learn more and read student-written blogs about retailers' visits to campus:





Thank you again to all the individuals and companies.

You are what makes our program great!

The students involved with the Student Retail Association at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are at the forefront of industry, networking and engaging the local community. SRA Vice President, Natalie Rondinelli, recaps a recent trip to the Brewers game where the organization got a behind-the-scenes tour of Miller Park's retail operations.

The Student Retail Association took on the Brewer's game Friday, April 7th versus the past world series champions, the Cubs. We arrived and received a tour of the multiple stores, the pop-up vintage booth, as well as the warehouse down below where everything is stored. It was the first time they have ever had a tour specialized towards the merchandising team, so they were very excited to see such intrigued students. It was also our first time experiencing how sport's retail runs. The Brewer's ended up winning in the 11th inning! We look forward to continuing this event each year.

Go Brewers!

An Interview with Alumni Michelle Gregoire
Marketing Manager, Merchandising, Direct to Consumer at American Girl

Michelle Gregoire is a 1995 graduate of the Consumer Science-Retailing program. In this interview, Michelle provides her background as UW graduate and advice for future graduates.  

What was you favorite part of your program?
I loved the breadth of classes from which I could choose.  However, if I had to choose one aspect, it was the internship program and my wonderful advisor, Bobette Heller. I learned so much from her: professionalism, interviewing skills, and a strong understanding of the industry.  The combination of my education and the internship program gave me the knowledge and confidence to start my career retail.

How did you get your first job out of college?
Networking, networking, networking!

Where has your career taken you and what was your favorite part of each experience? 
  • Lands' End - I adored the people that I worked with. The position I held was interesting and challenging, taking me on location across the country. 
  • Famous Footwear - My manager taught me a great deal about applying my retail knowledge to eCommerce.
  • OfficeMax - Exceptionally smart and diverse employees that supported one another.
  • American Girl - I work with team members that are extremely passionate about the brand and helping girls reach their full potential.
If you could give advice to your college self what would you say? 
What a wonderful and reflective question.  Take advantage of the faculty and staff of the University, you will never have that much knowledge and passion in a small radius around you again. Get involved in campus activities; your mind will be opened to new ideas, people, cultures, and possibilities.  Don't worry about what others think, do what is best for you. Study abroad.  Spend as many summer days at The Union as possible.

Where can you see yourself in the next couple years or where do you see the retail industry? 
eCommerce is a dynamic and ever changing industry, I hope to be leading a team that understands the emerging personalization of technology to more efficiently merchandise and drive revenue.

Memorial Union Terrace



Kohl's Center for Retailing