Keeping up with fashion trends may seem an unlikely job for Tulane bookstore manager Larry Jones. But sales of apparel emblazoned with the Tulane logo are big business for the Barnes and Noble affiliate, and Jones and his management team are always seeking out the latest clothing styles.
Lime green and other vibrant colors of caps and shirts are popular this semester in the Tulane bookstore. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)
"Students were coming in asking for Tulane shirts in fun colors like pink and purple so we got some of those," says Jones. "If enough students ask for it, chances are we'll get it."
Hot pink, lime green and lilac baseball caps and shirts are popular this semester, says Jones. Assistant store manager Frank Palermo, the store's in-house clothing buyer, starts hunting early for the next season's best buys. It's Palermo's responsibility to make sure the store stocks items that appeal to students.
Jones and Palermo coordinate with buyers in Barnes and Noble's corporate headquarters to stock the store. That way, the Tulane store is carrying garments that are selling well nationally, but, with Tulane logos on them, of course, and in the colors that Tulane students want.
Among the top sellers this semester is a vintage line featuring a Green Wave mascot from the 1960s, and the year 1834, the date of the establishment of Tulane. Items bearing the Tulane logotype paired with New Orleans symbols such as the iconic water meter cover design and fleurs-de-lis also are flying off the shelves.
"Tulane is a popular brand that even people unrelated to the university like to purchase," says Jones. "We rely on students to tell us what they want, but if we've got to go to the malls or flip through fashion magazines to find what's in style, we can do that too."