Students think chic in Building 45 Boutique

By Meaghan Sands

Away from main campus, in a building tucked away near the Arabian Horse Center, is the Building 45 Boutique.

Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the shop is open and Cal Poly Pomona Apparel Merchandising and Management students get real world experience in a retail simulation class. A management team of seven seniors have the specific assignment of running the boutique.

“We are selling trendy items you can wear,” said Juliana Ruffolo, the boutique’s finance manager. “It’s not just Cal Poly [Pomona] stuff. Students should experience things outside of main campus and get to know what we and this major are all about. We have trendy items like clothing and jewelry that you’re not going to find at the bookstore.”

Ruffolo keeps track of the inventory and sales. Weekly reports are done to see how well the store is performing, since they get graded on how well they sell the merchandise.

“It has helped me learn how to communicate with people better than I normally did,” said Diana Argueta, the human relations manager for the boutique. “It has also taught me new leadership skills.”

The team receives donated products, student work and consignments with small local businesses and alumni. To get even more hands on experience, the team goes on buying trips to Los Angeles to buy goods from the California Market Center where they can purchase items at wholesale.

Lisa Carrasco, the boutique’s merchandiser, said the hardest thing is making sure their customers want to purchase what they see trending in the fashion world.

“The Building 45 Boutique is a great place to shop and support, no matter what college department students are from,” said Carrasco. “We try to provide students with apparel and accessories that are fashionable, trendy and within budget. Having student support outside of our AMM department is just a great way we can have a diverse college campus and can come together and support each other’s passions.”

Kristen Lichtwardt, the boutique’s buyer, is in charge of all merchandise that goes into the store. They get to pick out what gets brought into the store, where they purchase it from and what price to set.

When asked what the hardest thing about working at the boutique is, Lichtwardt said it is the lack of awareness about the departments.

“We’re not known that much, so it’s difficult with just the AMM students that know us,” said Lichtwardt. “The AMM department is in its own little world here in building 45; so this quarter we’re really trying to break out and become well known on main campus so that students know that there is this awesome boutique with really trendy clothes at affordable prices.”

Jessica Guerrero and Ariana Rendon, the public relations and marketing managers, are moving forward on plans to promote the Building 45 Boutique on campus.

“This is what we are about,” said Guerrero. “This is our major and something that we all want to do. We want everyone to know that this is something that we care about.”

Plans are being made to get flyers out across campus to raise awareness.

“I feel like a lot of people are interested and want to shop during their breaks, but they don’t know where the building is,” said Rendon. “It’s easy to get their interest, but difficult to get them to the store.”

Both Guerrero and Rendon hope that an interdependent relationship with the campus can be fostered by reaching out to majors and clubs on central campus.

“I think it’s good to support your peers,” said Guerrero. “These are people that you may know and there is nothing more encouraging than seeing what they’re doing.”

This week, the Building 45 Boutique will be having its Midterm Madness Sale in which spending $15 in the store gets the customer 15 percent off his or her next purchase.

“It’s a way to support Cal Poly [Pomona] and your fellow students,” said Cristalyn Kenison, the boutique’s manager. “All the money and proceeds go back into the program and to student scholarships in our department.”

Building 45 Boutique

Jessica Lee/The Poly Post

Building 45 Boutique

Building 45 Boutique

Jessica Lee/The Poly Post

Building 45 Boutique

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