New York — Retail developer Edens has selected four finalists for its annual Retail Challenge, a nation-wide student competition for the most compelling new retail concept. The announcement of the winner kicks off this year’s smART: The Art of Retail conference.
Both the Edens Retail Challenge and smART aspire to incubate new ideas, share knowledge and identify the next generation of industry thought leaders.
“At Edens we see a new retail equation emerging,” said Jodie McLean, Edens president and chief investment officer. “Today’s most successful retailers blend irresistible goods or services, a sense of place, e-commerce, and new ways of engaging consumers through social accountancy, and community engagement. The Challenge and smART help us bubble up new concepts and put a face on the industry’s next generation.”
The 2013 Edens Retail Challenge winners are open for business: Follain, a curated selection of healthy, wholesome skincare and beauty products in Boston, Mass. and Artis, a premium, live-roast coffee concept featuring an educational, in-person coffee brewing experience in Berkeley, Calif.
This year’s challenge attracted 72 participants from 25 schools. After three rounds of competition and six months of reviews, mentoring and pitch polishing, the four finalists are:
Cote-Armour is a clothing line and artist collective created by students from Columbia University. The concept was inspired by the pulse and vibe of New York City’s art, music and youth scene. The company’s slogan, Gnarly Never Dies, reflects the Cote-Armour lifestyle – young and free, living for music festivals, creating art, and dreaming big.
Pragma is a fashion retailer created by students from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. It offers practical, high-quality clothing that can be worn to the office, out to dinner and on a business trip to on-the-go women. The line features innovative, travel-friendly (no-iron) apparel that folds into a built-in, drawstring pouch, making it easy to stow and go.
Joe Cuts is a mobile hair salon created by students from Babson College. The concept brings the haircut to busy college students through a mobile store and reservation app.
Kitschoppe, from Yale University students, helps expert do-it-yourselfers and uninitiated crafters design their projects before a communal backdrop. Kitschoppe seeks to provide the artistic and social outlet young people crave in budding urban metropolises.