Why all the interest in Pinterest with Ian Mull Apparel Merchandising and Design

Ian_Mull_apparel_merchandising_and_design.jpgWhy all the interest in Pinterest?
Social media has become part of the fabric of our everyday lives. Through Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram we provide real-time documentation of what we like, dislike and desire. Ian Mull, a fixed-term faculty member in apparel merchandising and design, recently published a study on people's motivations for using Pinterest that could help retail companies measure their brand appeal.

The study, entitled "PIN" pointing the motivational dimensions behind Pinterest, appeared in the April 2014 edition of Computers in Human Behavior. For Mull, who studied psychology as an undergraduate at Michigan State University, consumer motivation has been a research focus since his graduate school days at CMU, where the International Textile and Apparel Association recognized him with the 2013 Master's Level Student Best Paper Award.

Before graduating in August 2012, Mull worked with Joy Lee, professor of apparel merchandising and design, on a two-phase research survey that used both quantitative and qualitative data from students in the Department of Human Environmental Studies. From nearly 400 respondents, the researchers identified the following top-five list on how people use Pinterest.

  1. Fashion
  2. Virtual exploration
  3. Organization
  4. Creative projects
  5. Entertainment

The image-driven social sharing site is particularly interesting to Mull, who worked in the fashion retailing business for seven years while living in California before coming back to Michigan. "We've been using pin boards for years in the industry," Mull said. "Though they may have been called inspiration, trend or even mood boards."

Pinterest was in its relative infancy when Mull first started looking at it in 2011. "I heard a lot of people talking about it and no one really knew the main motivations behind engaging with the technology," said Mull, who believes Pinterest can build relationships between fashion brands and their consumers.

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