Performance Apparel Scores With Students

From Ivy League prep, to post-modern grunge, students have always been at the forefront of fashion. Often balancing tight budgets against the aspirations of trend-conscious youth, students are renowned for being the first to adopt new styles or adapt existing ones. That’s particularly true of the revolution happening to what used to be thought of as sports or active-wear. With cutting-edge, high-tech fabrics offering better quality and sleeker, minimalist styles, a new generation of performance wear has left the stadium, headed for mainstream and, in the process, has redefined the way we think about casual wear.

Performance Is The New Black

With an overall global market value expected to reach $126.30 billion next year, sales of performance wear are exploding. “Any retail space you look at, it’s a category that’s really expanding,” reports Lisa Loughan, Buyer for Barnes & Noble College, which manages over 700 campus stores nationwide. That trend couldn’t be more evident than in the campus stores she buys for, and where she’s predicting no slowdown of the phenomenal 32 percent growth the category experienced last year. “We’ve carried brands like Under Armour in our stores for many years, but now we’re developing the category by providing our students with access to the same brands, same fabrics and same silhouettes found in major retailers, giving it even greater relevance by making it available with their school logo,” she adds.

Now joined by fitness giants like Nike and Champion, sustaining that kind of growth is requiring some changes at the store level. “We’re transitioning the selling floors in our bookstores to streamline some of our bestselling cotton graphics and offering more product in the performance category,” Loughan explains. And while cotton sports apparel still accounts for substantial sales for Barnes & Noble College — particularly appealing to alumni and parents — it’s a product being eclipsed by the shift away from the traditional collegiate look to more modern and versatile fabrics.

Among the hot items students are buying are light-weight tees for men, and shorts, tees and tank tops for women. Loughan notes that consumers are flocking to performance fabrics because of the greater comfort, adaptability and style they can provide. Without putting too much thought into an outfit, new high-tech fabrics can be layered easily to provide greater freedom of movement, breathability and moisture management and can easily adapt to the chilly campus or heated lecture hall. “I like wearing athletic performance wear because it’s so comfortable” says Marisa Langley, a junior studying Management Information Systems at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania. “As a college student, I often find myself high on stress and low on sleep. Fitness apparel is an easy way to fit some extra comfort into my life — and I like that it’s so versatile.”

Not surprisingly, women’s is the area expanding the most in the coming year, and Loughan acknowledges the strong fashion element retailers such as Lululemon and Athleta are signifying. “It’s really making a woman change what her daily outfit looks like, no matter her age or activity level — whether going to class or meeting friends — she’s resorting to that fitness lifestyle coordinating product,” she adds. While comfort is a big factor, Loughan also points out that performance wear can also represent a powerful brand statement. “Students are very brand aware,” she notes, “so brands like Under Armor or Nike have a particularly strong resonance with our age group.”

Fit or Fashion?

It’s not always easy to separate the growing movement for increased fitness from the phenomena of performance wear solely as a fashion trend. Although the design elements behind performance wear are intended to cater to activities ranging from yoga to athletics, the consumer is increasingly using that product for more stylish reasons. Surveys repeatedly point to a consumer preference for performance wear as around-the-house clothing, equally well-suited for doing chores, attending classes or meeting friends for intense workouts. But it’s a trend that has endless possibilities.

An active population presents attractive opportunities for apparel makers. Conventional sporting goods stores now compete with fashion retailers, and in a statement away from the traditional black uniform, performance is coming into its own with pattern leggings and bright neon palettes in a bid to capture more of this lucrative market. Whether as a sport or fashion statement, Loughan is acknowledging the lineage of performance wear with a fitness program to debut in time for this year’s back-to-school season. “I’m really into the bright neon workout gear now,” says Penn State’s Langley. “It really lifts my mood — and with my long treks across campus in unpredictable weather, sportswear is the best way to go for me. But best of all, I can buy it from the bookstore with the Penn State logo, so I can show my school pride wherever I go!”

Bookstore Spotlight: B&N @ Emory University

Part of what makes Barnes & Noble College Marketing unique is our direct/firsthand access to a network of over 700 on-campus college bookstores, and the store managers who help us execute our programs, in market, and who help us ensure exceptional customer service during our marketing programs.

BNCM interviewed Bookstore Manager, Leah Antoniazzi, at Barnes & Noble at Emory University, to get some insights on her store, and her experience with our company.Emory SM

Bookstore Location:
Our address is 1390 Oxford Road, Atlanta GA 30322
We are located on the street and share the building with Undergraduate Admissions.

-How many students does the bookstore serve?
Our store serves 14,513 Undergraduate students, 7,836 Graduate students and 6,677 Professional students.

-What is the most popular major(s) at your university?
Some of our most popular areas of study and academic programs include: Biology, Political Science / International Studies, Business Administration, Law, and Medicine.

-How many years have you worked with BNC?
I’ve worked for Barnes & Noble College for 9 years.

-What makes your bookstore unique? (merchandise, events, etc?)
We are a 3 level superstore with floating glass steps and an amazing light fixture hanging from the middle of the glass steps that changes colors. We have artistic murals all over the wall of the bookstore that show past and present Emory University events – these are always quite the conversation pieces in the store!


In terms of our bookstore’s staff, we are fortunate to be able to hire many Emory students and they truly make the bookstore unique. Their knowledge of campus and their University insights are so valuable to our customers, and to all visitors who come to the bookstore.

-What has been your favorite/most successful marketing program at the bookstore?
Our students love anything free – sampling programs have been very popular here. We have also had overwhelming success with the Igniting the Alumni Connection and Igniting the Freshman Campaigns. (Both campaigns were launched to increase our email lists and expand our digital reach with students and alums). We have very strong relationships with the Alumni Department and Undergraduate Admissions, which has lead to many exclusive bookstore partnerships.

-In what ways does the bookstore also serve the local community?
Our bookstore serves the surrounding community in many ways. We feature large scale, book events with authors, we host a monthly book club, and we host Children’s Story Time every Wednesday. We also have a great partnership with Children’s Health Care of Atlanta. Once a month we take our story book characters to the hospitals for a children’s reading. This activity is a staff favorite – we love to see the smiles on the children’s faces and take them out of their hospital setting, if even for just a short time, to ignite their creativity and imaginations through reading.

Assistant Store Manager Rachel Barrueta and I are Board Members of the Emory Village Alliance which is a community group formed of business owners and community members to preserve and improve the surrounding area (Emory Village). Our bookstore is a sponsor of the Glenn Memorial Arts & Eats Gala, the Decatur Book Festival and Open Streets (an open streets festival celebrated right outside out store every Oct sponsored by the county)

-What is the “best kept secret” about your bookstore?
You never know where you will find Dooley!

It is a quiet place to study that people take advantage of.

Fun Emory facts and trivia:
We have “Dooley” the spirit of Emory. Dooley is the unofficial mascot of Emory.
“Presidents may come, presidents may go; professors may come, professors may go; students may come, students may go; but Dooley goes on forever!”

Dooley represents a quirky tradition on campus. The biology lab skeleton safeguards the official Spirit of Emory. Acting through students selected to don the Dooley mantle, he maintains a vigorous and unpredictable presence during a week in his honor in the spring. The identity of these students is one of the best-kept secrets on campus.

We have a satellite campus – Oxford College of Emory University – This is where Emory University was founded in 1836.

Of Emory’s nine academic divisions, Oxford offers a distinctive, small-campus setting, which is particularly conducive to significant academic achievements and personal development during Freshman year and Sophomore year. Students who complete the first two years of the Emory degree in Oxford’s liberal arts intensive program are automatically enrolled as juniors in the Emory College of Arts and Sciences, or they may compete with others to enter Emory’s nursing and business schools.

In October, 2007, His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Emory and was installed as Presidential Distinguished Professor. The Dalai Lama visited Emory in 2010 and 2013. On January 7, 2008, His Holiness presided over the inauguration of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative with an Emory delegation at Drepung Loseling Monastery in Mundgod, India.

Emory Staff 2

Plot Your Own Course: Take on an Internship

A Millennial Roadmap from College to Career

The millennial generation has grown up during some difficult, economic times. The pressure to pay for a college education has only been compounded by a greater pressure to secure a good job after college to cover those costs, and gain some financial and professional stability for the future. The challenge often becomes how students can successfully make the transition from academic studies to real world experience out in the field. One of the best ways for millennials to find their professional focus and plot a course for a successful career path may be by “testing the waters” with an internship during their undergraduate years, at a company that operates in their area of interest. There may be no better way to differentiate between theory and practice, in the classroom and the conference room, than by experiencing the workplace, firsthand. The right internship can provide a significant, strategic advantage in the job market.

A recent survey conducted by revealed that 66% of employers believe that relevant work experience is one of the most important factors in their hiring decisions — sometimes, even more so than strong academic performance. “In a highly competitive job environment, employers want to see that a candidate has the hunger to be successful in more than purely an academic setting.” says Stuart Lander, Chief Marketing Officer at

When students have the ability to immerse themselves in different corporate cultures, shadow industry professional, interact with customers, and work with a variety of functional teams, they are given an inside perspective of the realistic day-to-day functions and responsibilities of the workplace. Therefore, they can better determine if their perceived area of professional focus is a good fit for their personality and individual skill set.

“First and foremost, results tell us that at a time when 54% of recent graduates are unemployed or underemployed, the best chance you have as a student not to be part of that statistic is to do an internship,” says Lander. “You have a 7 in 10 chance of being hired by the company you interned with.”

According to Forbes, 69% of companies with over 100 employees offered jobs to their interns in 2012. Many companies consider the internship to be an effective interview for competing applicants. And there are internships to fit every interest and dynamic.

In addition to on-site internships, some companies are now offering remote internships and virtual positions. There has been a 20% increase in these types of positions in the last year. Companies who need help on research projects or social media initiatives are interested in hiring interns who can offer their millennial perspective and digital acumen to help manage corporate Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and Instagram accounts. For students, remote internships offer the flexibility of being able to work during the school year to gain valuable job experience, while they attend classes, as well.

As industry leaders in Millennial Marketing, BNCM wanted to get the real “Beat on the Street”, so we reached out to one of our students, Sophomore, Kristin Thompson, a Biomedical Engineering major at The University of Akron, to talk with her about her career goals and how she plans to gain some real world experience in her field of interest, during her time as an undergraduate.

What made you decide to focus on Biomedical Engineering as your major so early in your college career?
I have always been interested in the field. My parents work in the medical field, my older sister is an occupational therapist and my younger brother is a special needs child. Although I was initially interested in pursuing physical therapy, my parents encouraged me to study engineering, since I was always a very strong math student in school. I know that, whatever I do, I want to help people. But I believe that I will always do that in a behind-the-scenes kind of way. It’s just my personality. That is why Biomedical Engineering and, more specifically, Biomechanics felt like the right path for me to pursue.

With such a specialized area of focus, how do you plan to distinguish yourself in the job market, after you graduate? Do you have any plans to intern in a corporate or hospital environment?
I will definitely be spending a significant amount of time over the next two years in an internship environment. I am fortunate to have been accepted into The University of Akron’s College of Engineering. Their program already has a designated Co-Op program which incorporates interships into the program track during our junior and senior years. This Co-Op functions in rotations. For example, next year, I will spend the spring semester of my Junior year in a full time internship position. I will spend the summer taking classes. In the fall of my Senior year, I will once again have a full time internship position, followed by a Spring semester of classes, and a final internship in the summer.

What aspect of your future internships are you looking forward to the most?
I am looking forward to putting my academics to the test. It will be great to see behind the scenes of some of the companies that I am interested in working for after I finish school, and determine the kind of professional environment in which I feel most comfortable. In addition, I am looking forward to the financial reimbursement of a paid internship, which will help me contribute to the cost of my college education, and take some pressure off of my parents.

How do you think you will benefit from your time as an intern?
Because there are many great biomedical engineering companies in the Ohio area, I am hoping that I will not only gain some great hands-on experience during my internships, but also a full time job offer after graduation, as well. I know it is up to me to demonstrate my capabilities and prove my dedication while I am on the job, so that I can capitalize on the opportunity to continue to learn and grow with a dynamic company after my studies are done.

About Kristin

KristinKristin is a sophomore at the University of Akron studying Biomedical Engineering, specializing in Biomechanics, with a minor in Spanish studies. For her career goals, she hopes to design prosthetic limbs and obtain a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Engineering. To some, she can be considered a Math Whiz, but her true passion is music. This has landed her the principle flute and piccolo seat in U of A’s Concert Band. Kristin also holds the Vice President Scholarship chair as an active member of Alpha Gamma Delta. She hopes to travel to Spain to study abroad in the near future, but until then she can be found at the registers of The University of Akron bookstore and scooping ice cream at her hometown Strickland’s Frozen Custard.

Smith, Jacquelyn. “Internships May Be The Easiest Way To A Job In 2013.”Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 06 Dec. 2012. Web.
Schmidt, Stephanie. “The on Campus versus on Site Debate: Are All Internships Created Equal?” USA TODAY College. USA TODAY, 6 Dec. 2013. Web.
Smith, Jacquelyn. “Internships May Be The Easiest Way To A Job In 2013.”Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 06 Dec. 2012. Web.
Smith, Jacquelyn. “Internships May Be The Easiest Way To A Job In 2013.”Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 06 Dec. 2012. Web.
Wortham, Jenna. “Virtually There: Working Remotely.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 02 Feb. 2013. Web.