This semester, the Consumer Science 501 course in Consumer Strategy and Evaluation was presented with the task of extending the product assortment within the Robin’s Nest Cafe in Nancy Nicholas Hall. A brave group of 14 students from the course began to look at product, pricing, promotion, and the experience within the shop and the best strategies to implement these changes using design thinking.
The group’s ultimate goal is to create a sustainable store that will benefit the University and women in Kenya, Ecuador, and Mexico. These students are working with the Wisconsin Union and Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace. The Wisconsin Union will set them up with vendors who can supply convenience items like tissue, Tylenol, or pens and notebooks.
Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace is a special partner because their business brings artisan goods from developing countries to Wisconsin, with profits ending up back in the hands of the artisans so they can better provide for themselves and their families. The group of students hopes to educate the building, and hopefully the community further of the 4W initiative, which focuses on “Women, Well-Being, Wisconsin, and the World.”
Creating a sustainable store is definitely a task that cannot be completed in one semester, so future semesters of this CS501 course will be able to improve assortment, marketing, and experience elements. For this semester, the 14 students are planning to have a Holiday Grand Opening right after Thanksgiving to begin to build awareness and give students the opportunity to do some holiday shopping while they are in the building for class or to study.
Products will be for sale starting November 18th, with the official Grand Opening on December 2nd during normal café hours (7:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.)
More information about Wisconsin Without Borders can be found here: http://www.wwbmarketplace.org
And the 4W Initiative here: http://sohe.wisc.edu/4w/