MPorium Reopens with Dear New York Theme Shaped by Tomorrow's Fashion Leaders

Zoe Fernandes '24, Marketing & Communications Intern
Samantha Perrella '24 (left) and Kiera Cameron '24 (right) who assist in managing store operations and e-commerce, respectively, for MPorium (photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College).

October 2, 2023 — The 10th grand re-opening of MPorium brought a taste of New York City to the Steel Plant. Every semester, students in the fashion department’s retail entrepreneurship course relaunch the MPorium store at Marist with a new theme. This semester's concept, Dear New York, is a love letter to New York City and the picturesque Hudson Valley-based Marist campus, where our students choose to call home.

“What excites me most about this grand opening is the theme that we've chosen,” said Samantha Perrella '24, who helps run store operations. “This theme really hits home to us because we all chose to go to school in New York. It also inspires everyone to dream big and think big, and that's what MPorium is encapsulating this semester, and I love it.”

Changing the concept every semester allows the students to experiment with new product assortments, ready-to-wear apparel, marketing tactics, and visual displays that pertain to the new theme. Past themes included: Better Daze, It’s Good to Be Home; and Sweet Escape.

Image of students shopping at MPorium.
Students shop at the grand opening of MPorium’s new concept, Dear New York (photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College).

During the Dear New York grand opening on September 26, the store was adorned with iconic elements evoking Fashion Avenue in the heart of New York City, the city skyline, street signs, and a charming park bench. A food stand offered classic New York bites, such as bagels and donuts.

The event drew a crowd of enthusiastic students contributing to a remarkable surge in sales. Compared to last fall’s grand opening, sales increased 338 percent and transactions were up 200 percent. All the proceeds go towards funding the retail entrepreneurship course and supporting the MPorium Scholarship, benefiting outstanding freshman Fashion Merchandising students each year.

Retail entrepreneurship students spent the first month of the course curating a theme for their target market: Marist students, faculty, and staff.  Set-up for the new theme occurred the weekend before the debut.

“During renovation weekend, the entire class worked hard to set up all of the store decor and merchandise on the sales floor. It's a busy but fun time with lots of laughs and really helps bond all of the teams,” said Sydney Sredniawski '24, who works on the visual merchandising team.

Image of display at MPorium opening.
Display at Dear New York opening at MPorium (photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College).

MPorium did not start as such a large operation. The course began in 2011 as Fashionology, consisting of a small kiosk in Donnelly Hall. It was rebranded to MPorium in 2015 and later got a storefront in the newly constructed Steel Plant. Rebecca Brown, Professional Lecturer of Fashion Merchandising, took over the course in 2019 and incorporated the semesterly themes and grand openings, growing MPorium into what we know today. 

“MPorium at Marist is unique because it is a high-impact experiential course providing our students the opportunity to gain real-life knowledge of the industry and build their resumes," said Brown. "The students operate a 1,200 square-foot brick-and-mortar space along with a fully functional e-commerce site offering both shipping and in-store pickup using the Shopify Platform."

Image of display of student designed products at MPorium.
The Dear New York theme at MPorium features designs by Marist fashion students (photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College).

The boutique serves as a retail laboratory, offering a hands-on experience for students to dive deeply into the complexities of managing and maintaining a thriving fashion business. Like an internship, MPorium provides an immersive learning experience that allows students to understand the challenges and responsibilities of the industry.

Just like any other successful business, MPorium has different departments to operate efficiently. The class is open to all majors with the departments consisting of seven specialized teams: finance, buying & merchandise planning, visual merchandising, marketing, e-commerce, store operations/human resources, and event/community outreach. 

Olivia Butler '24, who has worked on the marketing team for the past three semesters, stated: "MPorium gave me the chance to see how teams cross-function in a workplace environment. I also gained valuable public speaking skills and analytical skills from presenting sales recaps every week. This class has been highly beneficial while going into internships because I understand the responsibilities of a workplace." 

Learn more and shop at MPorium.

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