A team made up of three Buffalo State fashion and textile technology majors was among 10 teams that made the semifinals in the 2023 National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation Student Challenge, which wrapped up at the end of 2022.
The students—Madison Bryant-Wagstaff, Emelia Seiferth, and Angelina Deleon—were charged with developing a growth and launch strategy for Public Lands, a new outdoor specialty retail concept for Dick’s Sporting Goods.
During two rounds of a judged competition, the students created a pitch presentation, submitted a 90-second pitch video, and participated in a virtual interview with the Dick’s team.
“The challenge was a great opportunity to apply what I’ve learned in my fashion merchandising classes to real-world cases of fashion retail businesses.”
The students began working on the project last June, said Ji Young Lee, assistant professor in the Fashion and Textile Technology (FTT) Department, who serves as the team’s faculty adviser and as the Buffalo State liaison for the NRF. The first round was due in October and the second in November.
“Madison, Emelia, and Angelina deserve recognition for reaching this stage of a national competition,” Lee said. “This marks the first time that a Buffalo State team has made it to the semifinals. The students were so passionate and produced innovative and creative ideas on each phase of the project. I’m so proud of our team.”
The NRF, the world’s largest retail trade association, invites students from NRF university-member schools to compete in the annual challenge. It’s intended to give students a chance to use knowledge they’ve gleaned in the classroom and to compete for scholarship dollars.
“The challenge was a great opportunity to apply what I’ve learned in my fashion merchandising classes to real-world cases of fashion retail businesses,” said Seiferth, a senior who serves as the marketing and public relations coordinator for the Buffalo State Fashion Club.
I feel very honored to have been selected to be part of this team, along with having the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone to tackle a project in a national-level competition.”
Bryant-Wagstaff, a senior who serves as president of the Fashion Club and is the founder and CEO of the handmade jewelry brand Madison’s Fabulous Creations, said participating in the competition strengthened her creativity, leadership, communication, and business skills.
Deleon, a junior who has created promotional posters for FTT’s iconic Runway fashion show, noted that the competition helps students understand how to research market trends and apply marketing ideas to retail growth plans.
The team members will be highlighted on the NRF’s website as the competition’s semifinalists. Also, the students each received complimentary tickets, worth $500, to attend the 2023 NRF Foundation Student Program, which will be held January 12–15 in New York City.
“I feel very honored to have been selected to be part of this team, along with having the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone to tackle a project in a national-level competition,” Bryant-Wagstaff said. “I’m proud of us for all the hard work that we each put into this project, resulting in our team being one of the top 10 finalists in the nation.”
Pictured top, from left: Madison Bryant-Wagstaff, Emelia Seiferth, Angelina Deleon, and faculty adviser Ji Young Lee.
Photo by Jesse Steffan-Colucci, Buffalo State photographer.