Catawba club brings pop-up concept to campus

Published 12:06 am Sunday, March 12, 2023

SALISBURY — The latest trend in fashion is taking Catawba College’s chapter of Future Business Leaders of America — Collegiate (FBLA-C) to the state competition.

Catawba FBLA-C President Emma Nantz indicated that her chapter’s latest fundraiser drew inspiration from the pop-up shop phenomenon that has emerged in the fashion world.

“The best way to explain it is like a flash mob in high school movies with dances,” Nantz said. “It’s like that but selling clothes.”

In previous years, the FBLA-C chapter had conducted clothing closets.

“Originally, we had the idea of the clothing closet, which was designed to sell business clothes and attire at a lower price for students in (Catawba’s) Ketner School of Business who needed it,” Nantz said.

They used the idea as a fundraiser, and the model actually helped them place at the national FBLA-C contest.

“FBLA-C (PBL) has won national awards for the clothing closet business model,” said Dr. Pam Thompson, FBLA advisor and associate professor at the Ketner School of Business. “Our members this year took a fresh approach with the ‘Pop-Up Shop’ concept, which proved to be very successful and a great learning experience for all.”

Nantz added, “Last year, we did a regular clothing closet. It was advertised weeks in advance and was over a whole week.”

Planning for the pop-up shop began in January, and the shop was open Feb. 27-28 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.

The overall goal was to raise $500, but they raised $600.

The event proved to be a marketing campaign and fundraiser built into one. Leading up to the event, members organized clothing and set up a real shop in the Millard Wilson Computer Lab in Ketner Hall.

The day before the event began, a group of students set up for almost three hours and shared the sale news via posts and word of mouth.

The sale included brands such as Lily Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines, Banana Republic, J. Crew, and Anthropologie. The students sourced the clothes through donations from Catawba professors.

“In the future, we have talked about focusing on starting earlier to get donations from more people,” Nantz said.

Almost everything was priced at $5, $10 and $15. There was even a prom dress for $20 and a wedding dress for $25. By the end of the first day, over $250 had been raised.

On the second day, prices were marked down, and almost everything was sold for $2 or $5.

“I’ve been a part of FBLA since my freshman year, and this is my second year serving as president,” Nantz said. “It warmed my heart to see us all come together in this way. Everyone showed up to their shifts to set up and run the event, and if someone was sick, another member came in and covered. I’m optimistic that this will greatly help us go to nationals and achieve even greater recognition for Catawba.”

The chapter officers, including Nantz, Vice President Madison Smith, social media coordinators Jennifer Barrios-Gomez, Will Ridenhour and Sam Granillo, Secretary Harmony Speer and Treasurer Yahaira Galan-Cruzes were elated to see the event’s success.

FBLA-C Advisor Angelia Bates baked brownies and packaged chocolates to sell at the shop, which was also a huge success.

“The brownies were super successful,” Nantz said. “So, the other fundraiser we are looking into for the spring is a bake sale.”

It’s not the first time the chapter has used peoples’ appetites for fundraising.

“In the past, we have sold meat sticks, like beef jerky,” Nantz said.

This year, they are also selling Ketner School of Business magnets to people in the community and alumni.

All the money goes toward the competition trips that Nantz’s chapter takes, beginning with the upcoming state competition in Charlotte.

“There are FBLA-C chapters from around the state that come,” Nantz said. “The entry fee is $80, and if we stay overnight in a hotel, there are costs associated with it. If we place at state, we will use the money to go to nationals.”