Follett Corporation, the operator of more than 1,200 official on-campus stores and one of the nation’s largest retailers of college licensed merchandise, has launched an innovative new apparel customization program at its University of California Berkeley store. Marketed under its Fall Rush private brand which launched earlier this year, the Shirt Bar allows in-store customization of UC Berkeley and Cal Athletics officially licensed apparel with over 20,000 possible design combinations.

Scott Killian, Senior Vice President of Private Label

“When we launched the Fall Rush brand earlier this year, the goal from the very beginning was to create something more than a private label apparel brand,” said Scott Killian, Senior Vice President of Private Label. “Fall Rush is effectively a platform for enabling new experiential retail programs and the Shirt Bar at UC Berkeley is the first example of this strategy.”

Resembling a trendy coffee bar, the Fall Rush Shirt bar is the centerpiece of the newly updated Cal Berkeley store where consumers can take selected Fall Rush apparel items to the bar and customize them with every Cal Athletics team, club sport, University degree program, and a range of current and vintage school marks.

“Consumers have deep, emotional connections not only to UC Berkeley as an institution, but also to dozens of athletic and degree programs,” said Killian. “Our goal is to empower these consumers to create the same high-quality, classic college lifestyle products which have historically been reserved only for the largest sports programs such as football or basketball.”

“We are extremely excited about this ambitious in store apparel customization experience at Cal Berkeley,” said Clay Wahl, President of Follett Higher Education Group. “We’ll be aggressively rolling out additional bars at other Colleges and University campus stores managed by Follett in 2019 and beyond.”

Fall Rush will also be launching a mobile version of the bar with the same functionality as the in-store experience. The mobile Fall Rush Bar Cart will be present on game days at California Memorial Stadium, Haas Pavilion and other Cal Athletics sporting events.

Available exclusively at the Follett-operated store at 2495 Bancroft Way in Berkeley starting with “The Big Game” between Cal and Stanford on November 17, Fall Rush Shirt Bar products will initially consist of tee shirts and sweatshirts decorated with traditional collegiate applique graphics including tackle-twill, felt and chainstitch embroidery. Prices will range from $35 to $70.


“We’re very excited to see Fall Rush open here at Cal. We know our students, fans, tourists and stakeholders are looking for both a different, more immersive shopping experience, and also for specifically customized apparel – we think Fall Rush delivers both”, said Dan Perkins, Licensing Director at University of California Berkeley. “Local retailers have dabbled in shop-in-shops and other limited in-store activations; Fall Rush leapfrogs all of them by bringing a fully integrated experience year-round.”

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.