Babson undergraduate students Michael Kliska, Paulina Bosque, Adriana Contreras, and Nina Shapiro win opportunity to bring their retail concept to life.

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Babson College student business Joe Cut ─ led by undergraduate students Michael Kliska, Paulina Bosque, Adriana Contreras and Nina Shapiro ─ won the 2014 EDENS Retail Challenge, a nation-wide student competition seeking the most compelling new retail concept. This year's challenge attracted 72 participants from 25 of the nation's top schools.

Joe Cut is a mobile hair salon that brings the haircut directly to the busy college student through a mobile store and reservation app. Founded by four Babson undergraduates, Joe Cut will service primarily male customers on campuses throughout the U.S. via a mobile salon. Students and faculty will book appointments through a mobile app that will also let them know when the truck is on campus. Joe Cut will be an exclusive U.S. retailer for Joe Grooming, a multi-national line of men's grooming products.

Joe Cut receives a total of $13,000 seed money as well as additional support from EDENS' in-house team of financial, marketing and design professionals.

"The Joe Cut team truly embodies this country's next generation of retail," said Jodie McLean, EDENS President and Chief Investment Officer. "They have an intuitive understanding of the consumer's need for design, style, and convenience, with bold ideas about how tomorrow's shopping environment will evolve." 

The announcement kicked off the annual smART: The Art of Retail conference that took place earlier this month in New York City. smART offers two days of engaging dialogue, panel discussions, and keynotes as a vehicle for small business owners from around the country to learn from the brightest minds in the industry today. 

Two Babson student businesses, Follain and Artis, won last year's EDENS Retail Challenge. The businesses are still running successfully, a testament to the value of the support and resources the program provides. Making it to the finals is no small feat—the process takes almost six months. Students are challenged to develop a comprehensive business plan – from initial vision to financials to launch strategy – for a compelling, persuasive retail concept. 

Follain, founded by Tara Foley M‘13, is Gaelic for ‘healthy, wholesome, and sound.’ The business has curated a portfolio of healthy products from 25+ US-manufactured skin care, hair care, and cosmetic brands. All products are free of synthetic chemicals. Some products, like liquid hand & body soap, can be refilled to help remedy the immense plastic waste. 

Artis was founded by Alex Lowe, James Gutierrez, and Elvis Lieban, all 2014 MBA candidates. The business, a first-in-kind retail store dedicated to the art & craft of coffee, recently opened its flagship store in the 4th Street shopping district in Berkeley, CA. Artis is part retail store offering everything needed to roast, grind, brew, store, and enjoy coffee─and part coffee shop, offering beverages to enjoy in the store or take to go. 


EDENS develops, owns and operates community building centers in primary markets throughout the East Coast. Focusing on innovative development and redevelopment together with key acquisitions in urban areas, the Company has built an institutional-quality portfolio of 111 retail centers. EDENS has Regional Headquarters in Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Miami and Columbia, SC.

About Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds™. The College is a dynamic living and learning laboratory, where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society -- while at the same time evolving our methods and advancing our programs. We shape the leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to create economic and social value. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance
Entrepreneurial Thought and Action®  as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.


By Barbara Spies Blair,, 781-239-4621 | 03/24/2014 07:00