SHIFT Retail Lab named winner
The next generation of entrepreneurs won’t be stuck in the classroom.
Virginia Commonwealth University reimagines entrepreneurship training with its Shift Retail Lab, a winner of 2023’s Innovation By Design Awards.
Here, failure is an option.
Successful innovators and entrepreneurs take risks and never give up. When you take a risk, failure is an option, and often the quickest way to learn and improve. Shift Retail Lab provides an important space for entrepreneurs to test their ideas through sales and customer feedback. This alternative type of retail offers a lab-type approach for creative thinkers and doers from a wide range of backgrounds to put their ideas into action. Shift customers have the opportunity to take an active part in developing ideas into successful products and services ready to go out to market.
APPLY TO BE A SHELFIE
Each semester we have multiple opportunities for current VCU students, alumni, and community founders to test their products, services, and ideas on the shelf at Shift.
Our space makes a great venue for any of your events! From happy hours and fashion shows, to concerts and speaking events, we are happy to help make your event a success.
We host many events at Shift Retail Lab and you are invited! The events at Shift are designed to inspire diverse talent within the VCU community, build community and support entrepreneurship.
Join the Shelfie program at Shift Retail Lab!
How it works:
Our Shelfies have about a month to showcase and test their ideas. They could be working on a product or service that is already developed or starting at the beginning, with just an idea. During their month at Shift they will receive a stipend and programming, including a bootcamp, Feedback Friday, and group pop-up market.
Each semester there are multiple opportunities for current VCU students, alumni, and community founders to test their products, services, and ideas on the shelf at Shift. Our application isn't really an application, we just want to hear more about your idea or product. Fill out the form below and we will be in touch!
When you are selected to test your ideas out at Shift, we give you a little stipend that you can use for product development, advertising, display design, and more.
We have a mandatory workshop to get you all set up at Shift. Our bootcamp will give you a foundation in design thinking and support you in creating your display and feedback questionnaire.
During your time as a Shelfie, you will have a feedback event where you will present your idea and display to an enthusiastic community for feedback. Feedback Friday is designed as a round table discussion with peers, community members, staff and more.
You and your peers will collaborate to plan and promote a popup market event. You can sell your product or get in-person feedback on your idea.
Micro-credentials are short, flexible, asynchronous learning modules designed to help participants develop the specialized, job-ready skills. Our Shelfies are required to complete our micro-credential courses.
Join our staff and students at an upcoming event at Shift Retail Lab!
Help the Shelfies out by browsing and taking their surveys. Your insight will help them be more successful, more quickly!
Shift Retail Lab at VCU is a multifunctional retail space where past and present VCU students can showcase their work to gain insights and test their products, services, and ideas with real world customers.
Please fill out one application per team, idea, and/or product. All VCU students and alumni are welcome to apply!
If you are a not a current student and are interested in getting involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Take our micro-credentials in Design Thinking, Business Model Canvas, Art of the Pitch, and Digital Literacy.
Micro-credentials are short, flexible, asynchronous learning modules designed to help participants develop the specialized, job-ready skills.
Complete our micro-credential courses to earn Credly badges and share on your LinkedIn profile!
Yes! Register for the classes below to take a class at Shift Retail Lab:
OPEN TO ALL VCU UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE STUDENTS:
INNO 591: Shift Magazine (3 credits)
Full semester // Wednesdays // 1-3:30pm // In-person
Faculty: Jessica Collins, VCU Robertson School & Lloyd Young, VCU da Vinci Center
This course is a cross-disciplinary, project-based course where students will build on the foundational principles and practices of visual design by directly applying their skills to create a magazine for Shift Retail Lab. All students will experiment in constructing content through design thinking, graphic design, branding, photography, copywriting, communications, and event planning.
By the end of this course, students will have created the first issue of Shift Magazine and planned a launch party to introduce the issue to the VCU and Richmond community. Students can expect to achieve beginning to intermediate technical competency in Adobe InDesign through online instruction modules, assignments, and instructor support. All students will be given remote access to an Adobe Creative Cloud license while enrolled.
It depends on the product. When you browse the shelves at Shift you may see some items fully formed and ready to buy. You will also see projects that need a little help. This is the magic of this alternative type of retail where customers take an active part in developing ideas into successful products and services ready to go out to market.
If a student entrepreneur has their product for sale, you can purchase through their POS. Students may use an ecommerce website, Venmo, or CashApp.
Are you a VCU graduate? Do you own your own business? We want to know!
The Office of Alumni Relations wants to learn more about our alumni entrepreneurs so that we can support them whenever possible. By collecting the names, addresses and types of companies, we are building a database of VCU alumni-owned businesses.