Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Intern pt.2

October, November, December, January... I'm almost done.

Nearly four months have gone through and my internship approaches its end. Four months that mark the ending of this opportunity but also the beginning of something bigger . Now more than ever am I sure that I am clearly heading towards the right direction in my career path. "All that hard work and no pay?" Some people might think that, but the answer is I do get paid. The reward is not monetary, but in the long run I already have so many other opportunities because of this. The rewards take form in other venues, more along the lines of professional and personal growth. I've felt I've matured even more in the past four months than in many other jobs I've had. I've produced my own set of personal rules and tips that will be forever in my own little notebook of life lessons.

If I had to point out the best part of my internship, it would definitely have to be my freedom to use my artistic creativity. I don't think I have ever been allowed to work first hand with art in any other job before (aside from my artistic career that is) and in comparison to other jobs, I feel thankful that it has been acknowledged. It doesn't feel like I'm letting a degree in Fine Arts go to waste here. Another thing that I have loved from the beginning is my fellow internship friends and co-workers. We've really gotten along and it feels great to go to work every day regardless if I'm not being paid because I genuinely like it. It's a good place to be around. I don't mind if I end up dog tired every day to then go work at another job. I honestly don't because I enjoy it so much. Every day is filled with new ideas, news, surprises, challenges and memories.

Christmas display. That lettering was a pain to cut!
"I need a "Sale" sign. There are plenty of magazines upstairs.
That's your medium for this window display."
It might seem a little "The Devil Wears Prada"-ish, and I guess that's the best pop culture reference to go by because honestly it is like that. I could say I am one of many, many Andy Sachs out there. When you look at it that way, it does seem pretty neat, doesn't it? Yeah, I guess it is.

Let the measuring and spec sheet fest begin!
I've had so many big tasks appointed to me and the easiest way to deal with the load is just simply doing what you're told. No whining. Laugh it off later. You always end up doing so anyways. Just head every challenge forward and with a good attitude. I promise, it'll make everything better. Super inventory count? "Okay, let's do it!" Merchandise measurements for an endless amount of spec sheets? "Let me get working on that so I can finish it as soon as possible!". Call twenty pages worth of clients to personally invite them to next week's event? Well, okay. You got me there, but to be positive it's a good way to get to know the business' clientele that you're catering to. You can laugh of how repetitive you sound and how you put on your "professional phone voice" later. See? It's not that difficult, really. It's not impossible. It all goes down to good time management, a positive attitude and staying focused. It's the small details that make it all worthwhile in the end and get you a good feedback once you've done your job.

Manuel and I goofing off during our lunch break!
We'll miss you, hun!
To make your task much more simple,  it's also really good when you give ideas and suggestions on how to improve your task, of course if it's the right place and time to do so. Never speak out of place, but your employers might like it when you give positive suggestions on  how to make everybody's task a little bit better. Suggest organizing the line sheet binders this way or suggest creating the new window display that way. See something that needs to be done? Volunteer or suggest getting it done. I promise, those little details do not go unseen. It shows you're really into it and you want to improve. It's always important to keep in mind that you signed up for it so it's your job to resolve the problem given. Be alert, positive, responsible and always remember to be an asset and not a liability to the company. Take notes. You are after all... the intern. There are loads more where you came from so do the best to stand out from the crowd if it really means something to you. It does to me. The most important thing to me was learning how a business in the fashion industry works. If I want to be a designer, this is where I must move along.

So yeah, the intern. I think that's the bottom tier of the fashion industry or any industry in general. Like Charleen would say, "WOOOOORK!". Now it's all about doing just that . I'll be leaving for Parsons in August and I can wholeheartedly say that this has been an excellent way to spend that vacant time between studies. Not only am I strengthening my professional life, but I've also made great friends, built great memories and polished my hard shell. I feel like I've gained all the tools necessary to face any other job or internship for that matter. I feel like I can face New York and just go with it a lot more prepared. I wont jump so blindly. At least, when it comes to the industry! I have absolutely enjoyed these past four months interning at Erika Peña. I truly recommend trying out an internship and giving it a shot. It's the best way to build up your creds and get noticed. It could lead to greater opportunities. I know firsthand. I look forward to keep contributing as much as I can because I believe it is where I should be. I'll keep you guys posted for any upcoming news regarding my future in fashion!

Erika in the press!
If you want to know more about Erika Peña Designs and her amazing creations, head over to the Facebook page or follow on Twitter!

Pics via Erika Pena Boutique Puerto Rico, Yara's Instagram, my phone and Fashion Blackout.

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