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RNLI Student Research

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

The RNLI wanted to find fresh ideas for its retail merchandise targeting a younger market of between 18-30 years old. The range is currently sold through its coastal retail outlets, online and via mail order catalogues.  It was also focussed on developing a sustainable and ethically sourced offer.

The BA Fashion Retail Management Course Director was keen to expose their students to the opportunity for a live case study where they could research new product opportunities with sustainable and ethical roots, present these products for consideration to the RNLI Head of Sales, Clare McDermott, and receive feedback from her on the viability of these proposals in terms of their likelihood for inclusion in the RNLI range.

Students researched the RNLI brand, values, ethos, current customer base, product offering and price points, heritage before presenting new products for consideration. Their offers included potential sources, minimum order quantities, market research – often conducted via social media networks, pricing strategy and marketing presentation including possible Point of Sale materials.

The Client

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is an independent charity, funded entirely by voluntary donations.  The charity, dedicated to saving lives at sea has saved over 139,000 lives since its founding in 1824.

Volunteers are the heart of the RNLI. It relies on more than 40,000 volunteers – on lifeboats, at stations, on beaches, and in fundraising.

Some crew members and most lifeguards are full-time. They work with other RNLI team members to ensure comprehensive safety coverage around the British Isles and Ireland.

I enjoyed working with Fashion Retail Management students so much and was so impressed by their creative and professional approach that I have returned to work with them once again this year.
Clare McDermott, Head of Sales


Working with students, Clare McDermott was able to assess a wide range of new and exciting product opportunities aimed at a younger demographic. She was impressed by the enthusiasm and thorough approach taken by the students who had worked in teams in research and proposing their new product range ideas.


  • Access to new product ideas to pilot, trial, test market and develop for sale
  • Access to new talent
  • Access to inspiration, enthusiasm, creative energy and a great ‘can-do’ attitude!
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