1. Preparation ✍
I’ve been preparing myself for an internship since the beginning of the year. This included becoming a member of Design groups and organizations, such as AIGA, The One Club and The Advertising Group of NY, this helped me to network in different industries and build my portfolio. While doing this I worked on updating my website, LinkedIn Profile and resume.
2. Research 💻
If you took a look at my resume/website, you would already know that I am a Graphic designer/photographer who is a lover of fashion and been freelancing for the past year. Over the summer, I did a lot of research about which company I would like to intern at. I conducted my research daily, through the AIGA, AGNY, and LinkedIn websites (perks of being members). I also visited Indeed and LookSharp. So my ideal internship would be paid and at any fashion industry based company, dealing with both photography and design based projects. It is also my goal to stay at this company after graduation, full-time.
3. Resume, Cover Letters and Interviews 📧
Around Mid-August, I found three places that really sparked my interest. They were Opening Ceremony; an international clothing company line, Journelle; a luxury lingerie company, and LydellNYC, a fashion jewelry design house. Within a week after sending out my resume, portfolio and cover letters, I received emails from two companies wanting to arrange an interview, and one that notified me that they were still going through resumes.
4. a) The Interviews 📆
My first interview was at Journelles’ cooperate office. I was both excited and nervous. I interviewed with the Creative Director of the design department, she went in detail about what my responsibilities would be and what they were looking for. She pulled up my website on their monitor and explained why she liked my work. The questions were the usual “interview questions”, (tell me about yourself, why are you interested in design and fashion? what inspires you? where do you see yourself in a few years? what separates you from other people they might interview?). I was prepared for all the questions and answered confidently (although I was sweating in my palms). I was quite disappointed to learn at the end of the interview that they paid minimum wage. I really wanted the experience and loved their design aesthetic, and was told that within a week I will receive an email about their decision, as they were still interviewing other candidates.
My second interview was a few days after at LydellNYC. I first met with the head of marketing; Kerstin Manner, and the CEO’s assistant; Enrica Biagioni-Wesley. The interview was quite short, I basically told them a little about myself and why I am interested in being a graphic designer in the fashion industry, as they went through my resume and asked me about my experiences listed. They then explained what my duties would be if I was to be hired, which were working on dynamic projects that include trend books, product photography, website updates and design of email marketing materials. They were so excited about my work, that they wanted me to meet with the Art Director that same afternoon at 2pm.
I was excited when meeting with the Art Director: Russell Labosky. He was the former Art director of Vogue and Vogue Men for 10 years. He was really interested to see my more recent work and gave me critiques on the work on my website. He then wanted asked me a question that caught me off-guard which was “who is my favorite photographer and why?”. I couldn’t remember any at that specific moment. So instead I told him who my favorite graphic designers were and how I related to their aesthetic. I left the interview thinking I blew it.
(b) The Wait 😩
Waiting for a reply is the worst feeling. I constantly checked my email and voicemail every time I came out the train station. Two days after my interview, the art director of Lydell NYC sent me an email wanting to know more about my work and asked me to email recent work I had done. After doing so, we communicated via email for the following two days about our inspirations and photography. After visiting the job post again, I noticed there was no description of whether or not this was a paid or non-paid internship. I knew I would be devastated if this was not paid. So I sent an email to Russell inquiring about it and made him aware that I was willing to quit my current job to work as many days as possible with the company to gain as much experience if hired as a paid intern.
And waited patiently for a response…
5. GOT IT! 😄💰
Surprisingly, not long after, I received an email from the CEO’s Assistant, Enrica Biagioni-Wesley, stating that the team would love to have me, asked me when I will be able to start and my desired pay rate. I would work 3 days a week, two of which are full day and one half day. YAY!
My start date was September 3rd.