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MBA students to develop UGG “pop-up shop”

Dave Gruver

Four College of Business and Economics MBA students will be busy this summer traveling to New York City, meeting garment executives and learning the ins and outs of distribution channels for loungewear.

This unique opportunity is the result of a talk given to students last fall by Dave Gruver, national sales director for UGG Australia. “We met Dave at an event in New York, and he agreed to come to Morgantown to talk to our students,” said Elizabeth Vitullo, director of masters programs. The talk went so well that Gruver agreed to work on an experiential learning project with B&E students.

The project will involve the students in creating a business plan for a “pop-up shop” for UGG products at WVU this fall. The four students who will work with Gruver, who visited again in April, were selected from among nine who applied.

To create the business plan, the four will travel to New York in mid-June, where they will explore the UGG show room, meet with company executives and present their business plan to Gruver and other top UGG leaders.

“This is a great chance for our students to understand this industry,” Vitullo said, “and to be involved in a realistic learning situation that is similar to what they will face in their careers.”

The project is part of a three-credit course offered in conjunction with the College’s BrickStreet Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Gruver has held senior sales management positions with such well-known brands as Elizabeth Arden Cosmetics and Neuhaus Chocolates. At UGG Australia he is responsible for several business categories, including handbags, outerwear and loungewear. He is an alumnus of North Carolina Wesleyan College.

UGG Australia is an American footwear company and a division of the Deckers Outdoor Corp, headquartered in Goleta, California, with an e-commerce division in Flagstaff, Arizona.

UGG is a registered trademark in the United States and over 130 other countries for a brand of sheepskin boots and other footwear, as well as bags, clothing, outerwear and other goods.

UGG brand boots have been a fashion trend for men and women since the early 2000s, expanding to include bags, clothing, outerwear, hats and gloves, among others. In 2012, sales of the UGG brand worldwide were more than $1 billion.