Barnard, Alison

Professor William Bygrave, Case Director

Carl Hedberg, Case Writer

Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

© Babson College, 2006.


Alison Barnard, 27, knows shopping, retail, and fashion. As an MBA, working part time in retail, she devises a business plan for a premium denim and tops boutique based on her view that “women are not brand loyal, they are fit loyal.” In-Jean-ius, her six-month-old corner shop in Boston’s lovely North End, has been exceeding her revenue estimates since day one—largely because Alison has skill and passion to help her upscale clients find just the ‘right’ pair of jeans. As it has from the very beginning, running this hit venture consumes nearly every waking hour. Still, the creative, high-energy founder is far less concerned with burning out than with having her retail store duties usurp her ability to plan and manage for growth. While her plan is to roll out In-Jean-ius stores in major cities like New York, Chicago, LA, that will be critically dependent on her ability to attract and develop management talent with a similarly keen eye for fit. Her latest hire with management potential has just decided to quit, leaving Alison to wonder; if it’s such a challenge to replicate myself at this one location, how am I supposed to scale?

Teaching Objective: To present a framework for opportunity assessment, shaping and retail concept replication in a highly competitive environment.

Key Words: Fashion retailing 2 Entrepreneurship Opportunity recognition Wholesale purchasing Retail training Retail management Family funding Growth strategies


There is a 29 minute DVD available for this case. Please place orders through ecch.

Teaching Notes

A 7-page teaching note written by Bill Bygrave is available for this case.​​