Since joining the Fashion Merchandising Association (FMA) her freshman year, senior fashion merchandising major Brandi Osthimer has been working to raise the club from the ground up.
“When I joined, [the club was] kind of starting from the bottom,” Osthimer said. “They had not had a great past. The advisor wasn't great, so they were kind of building up from that. With that, we mostly did fundraising, and we would have guest speakers and bonding activities.”
One of these fundraisers included a resale pop-up shop, which was put on hold last year due to COVID-19 concerns. Now, as president of the FMA, Osthimer is making sure she keeps up the momentum of the club by holding their resale pop-up shop for the first time since the pandemic began.
“Our main goal is connecting people with an interest in fashion, [and] connecting fashion majors because we are a small major,” Osthimer said. “Being involved in the clubs is a great experience to bond with everybody and network. Our big focus so far this year, though, has been fundraising.”
In previous years, the FMA would hold their resale pop-up shop at a table in the Atrium, which has proved successful, as the club has raised $200 at their shop before. This year, the FMA decided to rent a building out in the Village at 1611 W. University Ave. between Brothers Bar and Grill and Hoku Poku, taking their shop to the next level.
“We had a very wide variety of people that would stop by the table in the Atrium,” Osthimer said. “But, we're hoping with this shop to get an even wider array of people. We're going to have more clothes than we've ever had before because we don't have to limit ourselves to a table, and we have a whole space.”
While the resale pop-up has been successful in previous years, members of the club are hopeful the shop in the Village will lead to more funds raised and higher foot traffic.
Sophomore fashion industry studies major and FMA professional development chair Maureen Kirk started planning the resale pop-up shop a month ago with the help of other FMA members. As committee chair leader of the FMA’s resale pop-up shop team, Kirk has led the efforts of getting everything prepared and organized for the club’s event Wednesday, Oct. 27 through Friday, Oct. 29.
In her preparation for the pop-up, Kirk has considered the visual merchandising side of fashion, such as where to place rails in the store or offering a photo area for customers.
“We have a garage door that's going to open, so we’ll have a nice big entrance,” Kirk said. “It's really exciting just because we're able to plan out how an actual store would run, so you get more experience with how to set up a store and how to promote it on a bigger scale.”
To spread the news of their resale pop-up shop, one of the FMA’s promotion’s committee members took over marketing for the event. Jessica Wolfe, sophomore fashion merchandising major, worked on building a consistent presence for the FMA on their Instagram account before planning story takeovers and hanging flyers with QR codes linking to the FMA’s Instagram around campus.
“It's really important to get the word out to people and make sure that they have access,” Wolfe said. “We've made sure to link to our Instagram so people can immediately get connected to all the information.”
The FMA’s members collected all the clothing being sold at their resale pop-up shop on their own, sifting through their clothing, donating what they no longer wanted and asking friends and family members to pitch in to help raise money for the club. Reselling their own clothes not only helps the club raise funds, but also reduces their overall waste.
ThredUp’s 2021 Fashion Resale Market Report stated 36 billion lbs. of clothing are thrown away in the U.S. each year, 95 percent of which could have been reused or recycled. According to the World Economic Forum, the fashion industry accounts for 10 percent of all humanity’s carbon emissions and is “the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply,” producing mass amounts of waste and pollution that can be reduced through reselling. ThredUp reports an item bought used versus new displaces 17.4 lbs. of CO2 emissions, and a resale pop-up shop is one way FMA can do its part.
While helping the environment is one benefit for FMA, all proceeds made at the resale pop-up shop will go toward helping FMA members afford opportunities like field trips to New York City for the National Retail Federation Convention, which allows more opportunities for members to network.
“If we can raise more money, more people will be able to go on the New York trip, but we can also take smaller trips to places like Chicago,” Osthimer said. “Also, it just helps to pay for stuff that we can utilize within the club — like making vision boards — because that's a big thing, manifesting your future and having a good time with that.”
The store will be open from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday.
Osthimer and Kirk are both hopeful for the pop-up shop and want it to become something people remember the FMA for.
“I hope that this is something that will be able to stick, and people will be like, ‘Oh, FMA does the pop-up shop once a semester,’” Kirk said. “Maybe they will be waiting for it. I've been a part of this club for the past four years, and we did as much as we could with the resources we had, but I know that we're capable of doing more like this, so I think it'd be great to have a successful pop-up shop.”