The 2011 Camdenton alum is living in London as he works on a Masters of Business Administration at the British School of Fashion. The topic of his dissertation, however, hits close to home. Byrne's study relates to outlet shopping.
Home is still a strong influence on Jacob Byrne even though he’s more than 4,300 miles away.
The 2011 Camdenton alum is living in London as he works on a Masters of Business Administration at the British School of Fashion. The topic of his dissertation, however, hits close to home. Byrne’s study relates to outlet shopping.
Of course the Osage Beach Outlet Marketplace is a well known here which is why he’s hoping to enlist the Lake area in his research.
Byrne’s dissertation is titled, “Are Made-for Outlet Products a Luxury?”
According to Byrne, the course he is in has an emphasis on luxury brand management.
“Unlike some of my class mates, I’ve never owned luxury goods. Therefore, I felt it would be genuine if I did a study on how average mid-western Americans perceive the ‘luxury’ goods that are sold to them locally, which is typically outlets,” he explains. “What is luxury to one person might not be luxury to another, a lot of that stems from what we can afford to spend, but it also has a lot to do with what we are taught through advertisements.” Growing up in Osage Beach, Byrne says he had plenty of exposure to outlet and off-price stores, but not their full-priced retail counterparts found in more metropolitan areas.
While he used to think that products sold at outlets came from the retail stores due to defects or past-season styles, he has learned that most outlet stores are mainly stocked with products made specifically to be sold at an outlet. Byrne was interested in the way brands handle this practice and how they tag the items with apparently discounted prices, especially if customers justify paying more for the item because of it.
Interested in sharing your thoughts on the subject? Go to https://goo.gl/forms/bol37sbfYbJceRwD3 to take the survey Byrne has developed. It takes only around five minutes to fill out the brief questionnaire on consumer's perception of luxury products in American outlets. To take the survey, the consumer must have purchased a product there that would fall into their personal definition of luxury (handbag from Coach, watch from Fossil, suit from Brooks Brothers, sweater from Banana Republic, for example). There will be a drawing for people to win one of two Amazon Gift Cards valued at $25.
According to Bryne, he believes the outlets in Osage Beach and off-price retailers in Lake Ozark offer a decent level of variety to local consumers that wasn’t around 30 years ago, but is interested to see where the industry goes as the American public’s trust gains in buying clothes and products online.
“Living within a 20-mile driving radius of a mall won’t be how we define convenience; it will be in accessing exactly what we are looking for right in our own homes. Recent advancements in artificial intelligence, like virtual changing rooms, are going to allow us to see garments on a digital version of ourselves prior to purchase,” he says.
In his relatively few years out of high school, Byrne has explored a variety of tracks leading up to his life now in London.
The son of Dr. Kevin and Jeannie Byrne of Osage Beach, he was on a pre-med track in college for the first couple of years he attended the University of Missouri-Columbia. He also served as Navy medic with a Marine Corps Reserve unit in Springfield, Missouri for five years.
“I decided during this time period that I was neglecting my individuality and decided to pursue my creative side,” he says. “I’ve always enjoyed using my sewing machine to make things and tailor my own clothing, so I knew there was a passion-driven foundation to build upon.”
While working on his bachelor’s degree, Bryne also freelanced as a photographer for a local clothing business and interned for a summer in Kansas City at an independent suit company called Houndstooth, helping build their e-commerce site.
During this venture, he learned a lot about entrepreneurship from his boss at Houndstooth, he says.
Byrne switched majors and received a Bachelors of Business Administration from MU.
But prior to graduation, he studied abroad in Melbourne, Australia. Some British friends he met there “put the idea of London in my head,” he says.
Being offered a full ride scholarship to the British School of Fashion clinched the deal later.
“The staff here are incredibly supportive and are experts in their fields. A Masters of Business Administration is a very admirable degree a person can achieve in the field of business, so I saw it as an investment into my career,” Byrne says.
Life in London has been good for the Laker.
“It gets very cold in the winter, the skies are grey, and it rains a lot, but the resilience of the people make up for it. The diverse backgrounds of people living here to pursue their goals makes it accepting for expats like myself. I live in Shoreditch which is a central neighborhood bustling with young nightlife. Overall, I am just thankful to have an established a network of mates here I can regularly grab a pint with,” he says.
Byrne hopes to stay in London after he earns his MBA and for the foreseeable future — as long as he can keep extending his VISA, he says.
“There are several exciting fashion businesses here that I am currently in negotiations with. Eventually, I see myself pursuing an entrepreneurial venture with friends in a field that I'm passionate about at that time, it might even be medical related. If I can make the world a better place along the way, I'd feel very accomplished.”