Internship Experience

Four Starrs Boutique Fashion Marketing Internship

May 2012-October 2012 Bellingham

http://www.fourstarrsboutique.com

Overview:

The purposes of this internship are to learn about the resources and abilities of a small business, how to market effectively and efficiently, and expand my creative abilities. I hope to understand a broadened grasp of the marketing spectrum, develop my skills with resources and marketing tools, identify common fashion and business terminology, apply marketing concepts to problems within this industry, produce high quality documents and flyers, construct advertising messages and place them in the chosen media, identify and analyze a target market, determine the goals of an advertising effort, and much more. One of the great advantages to working for a small business is that I am the sole marketing coordinator for Four Starrs, besides the owner, and so it is very important that everything I create and pursue is professional.

Description of Firm:

Four Starrs Boutique is a limited liability company with sole ownership held by Danielle Starr. This clothing and accessory boutique is one of Fairhaven’s most successful shops, known for the engaging demeanor of employees it’s been quoted as saying “it’s like stepping into your girlfriends closet.” The layouts and designs are contemporary especially for a historic district. This small business is known for its cutting edge fashion trends, continuous weekly new arrivals, reasonable prices, and its friendly customer service. Because Four Starrs is independent and owner managed it translates into unique selections not found in malls or chain stores. It has been in Bellingham for seven years this upcoming March and it expanded its business in the form of a second store located in Bellis Fair Mall starting February 2012. Four Starrs primarily buys brands such as Angie, Anoname, Billabong, Chronicle Books, Citizens, Coconuts Footwear, Crush Eyewear, Double Zero, Element, Flying Monkey, Flying Tomato, GJG, Hudsons, Lush, Matisse, Sanuk, Seven’s for all Mankind, The Balm Cosmetics, Toms, Two’s Company, and Volcom. Four Starrs also carries a number of local designers in clothing and jewelry such as Disidual, Wes J, and Red Boots. In its years of operation it has won numerous awards such as The Best of the Northwest, and Top Ten Local Businesses of Bellingham.

Taglines associated with Four Starrs: “Hello Beautiful…” “Life is an occasion…dress for it!”

Job Description:

I will be the marketing intern for 4 Starrs Boutique in Fairhaven, a store, “specializing in an up to the moment perspective on fashion and trends.” Following is a list of objectives, ideas, and goals that I plan on accomplishing; however this list can be altered and added to at a later date.

  1. I will conduct research through surveys distributed to current customers, on the mailing list, to help target customers effectively, improve revenues, determine buying behavior to increase value, and/or to help maintain customer relationships to 4 Starrs.
  2. I will help with the marketing of the recent second store opening located in Bellis Fair Mall, acting as a liaison for consistent marketing through a focus on attracting new customers to visit flagship store in Fairhaven.
  3. Improving and updating social media outlets and coordinating the promotions etc. distributed through those sites.
  4. Another task I will accomplish is to write and distribute a press release for events, sales, or any promotions that may occur this summer.
  5. Setting up a fashion event in August or September for Billabong and Volcom brands, this will entail one part fashion show, and one part ready-to-wear outfit combination and promotion, an invite only event with invitations I will help create.

Skills Acquired:

  •  Strong interpersonal skill development via communication between the two store locations, as well as the marketing coordinator for the Bellis Fair Mall.
  • Exceeding written communication skills developed and implemented through write-ups for the fashion events.
  • Creativity and initiation by taking the creative liberty to create a platform for the What I Want Now (WIWN) idea and leveraged it as the missing link between the magazine pages and the store where people shop. Increased visibility and attention on social media sites.
  • Drive and ambition. I strive to do as much as I can and look for more opportunities for Four Starrs to gather a larger target market as well as strengthening its present audience.
  • Understanding trends and being up-to-date with the latest styles.
  • Flexibility primarily with fashion shows.
  • Social media development.
  • Technical skills advanced in programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Publisher, as well as the marketing tool Google Ad-Word.
  • Resourcefulness and innovation. When faced with more constraints for example a smaller target market population, finances, and/or time, created a strategy that enabled me to use my creativity and resourcefulness to come up with some of the strongest qualities of the business.
  • Research. Understanding the types of businesses and organizations that we partnered with for the fashion shows helped better to communicate as well as understand a common goal.
  • Ability to ask questions. I found that when I asked questions about the virtue of an aspect of the business, or a step that we were choosing to pursue, helped myself better understand the purpose and further the goals of each aspect of the business.
  • Passionately persistent and efficient. By engaging in the Seattle Gift Show I learned the technical skills and language of the buying process of the business. By doing so I learned tactfulness and how to be effective and organized in conversations.
  • Effective communication to consumers. An idea was to implement a Constant Contact account for the business so that emails could be sent out to the fanbase, however weighing the cost versus the benefit, this concept indicated to not be fruitful and therefore we decided instead to abandon that project.

Reflection

1. Perception is everything

Although the business is small within this medium sized community, the manner in which it is perceived completely determines its success. The Fairhaven District comprises dozens of local businesses whose survival merely depends on positive word of mouth, good relationships with their customers, and a valuable and meaningful product offering. It is a destination shopping location and so roughly thirty percent of the customers are not from the area but come because of the rich cultural feel. By getting involved in local events and fundraisers it is another connection with customers and potential customers to remind them that we are a local business who supports local businesses. Local business is important to the community because the revenue acquired is directly given back to the community, and Bellingham is recognized as s sustaining community.

2. Tell a compelling story

Danielle Starr is well known in the community for her positive demeanor and helpful attitude. An important aspect of the business model is the fact that she wants customers to feel at home in the store. Four Starrs offers quality advice about how to accessorize, dress for your body type, knowledge of the latest trends, and most importantly valuable customer service. Danielle and the employees like to tell the story of the business, where the buying is done (primarily in Washington and Los Angeles, California) as well as the history of the brands that Four Starrs carries. An exceptional example of this is TOM’s shoe brand, ‘Buy One, Give One’ and because Four Starrs carries this brand, its’ image is translated into the value proposition. So far Four Starrs has sold more than 1,411 pairs of TOM’s “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” Gandhi.

3. Create more value than you capture

By involving Four Starrs in an extensive social media campaign, community involvement, and by creating WIWN, the brand image reciprocates value onto its’ customers. By helping others create meaning with the clothing and accessories they purchase, they will value those pieces more, and every time customers wear something from Four Starrs they will recall the beneficial experience of shopping at Four Starrs.

4. Content is vital for creativity

In the duration of this internship I found that I always had several projects in motion and it was extremely valuable that Danielle utilized my resourcefulness as well as stretched my imagination in what I can do. She continually checked up to make sure my work load was suitable for my achievement level and focused on what I could gain from this experience as well as how it could grow hers. My initial encounter with Danielle we discussed the purpose and virtue for this internship, and we concluded that it should be a mutually beneficial relationship.

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Communities In Schools of Whatcom County Marketing Internship

June 2012-December 2012

http://www.ciswhatcom.org

Overview:

Initially I was a volunteer for this organization and I believe that gave me a strong understanding of the program’s strengths as well as its weaknesses. This internship helped me to develop marketing skills and expand my strengths with sales. Essentially getting volunteers was similar to making a sale in that at every fair we participated in I had to convince people to give up their time for this good cause. One of the advantages to working for a non-profit is that I was challenged to think of how to market on a low budget.

Description of Firm:

“Communities in Schools is the only dropout prevention program in the nation proven to both decrease dropout rates and increase graduation rates. The mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Schools can’t do it alone; nearly thirty percent of Washington students drop out of school. Schools and teachers alone do not have the resources that Washington needs to ensure kids graduate from high school prepared for life. CIS addresses the dropout crisis one child at a time. Our communities are full of people who want to help. We organize thousands of volunteers to works as mentors and tutors, providing adult guidance, life skills modeling, and high expectations for success. It takes family and community. By channeling community support directly to kids in schools we promote student success, ease the burden on schools, and free teachers to teach.”

Job Description:

As the Volunteer Recruitment and Marketing intern for Communities In Schools, I assumed multiple leadership, teamwork, and independent roles. I created many flyers, brochures, posters, bookmarks, poster boards, magnets and more physical direct marketing, as well as emailing, cold calling, and speaking to community members and college students at various fairs. On October 6th, 2012 CIS and The Bellingham Public School Foundation organized The Race for Education, a 5k which I helped organize and market. The purpose of the internship encompassed two primary roles, to spread brand awareness of the non-profit, as well as recruiting more volunteers to participate in one of the three volunteer opportunities: graduation coach, tutor, or lunchtime board game room volunteer.

I developed a marketing and PR plan for the non-profit drop-out prevention organization to gain brand awareness as well as recruited volunteers to the organization. I worked with the university to collaborate with classes, professors, and clubs involvement with the program. Lastly, I publicized The Race for Education through direct marketing.

Reflection:

The people I worked with at CIS were some of the most hard working and enthusiastic people I know! The passion for this line of work was not necessarily something I had considered before the internship but as I grew to understand the program and what it incorporated I was encouraged to see what else I could do. I was motivated to be creative within a structure of the brand image. The reward in seeing how the students’ lives are effected has been encouraging.

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Madina Vadache LLC. Fashion Marketing Internship

June 2011-September 2011 Bellevue/Seattle                       www.madinavadache.com

Overview:

Truly one of my most rewarding experiences was working closely with fashion designer Madina Vadache in the beginning of her business expansion. Not only did I learn how to network my marketing knowledge and learn firsthand how to organize and promote an event, I learned more about my passion of fashion entrepreneurship. Madina gladly included me in meetings regarding all aspects of her small business plan while encouraging and accepting my input. Last and most importantly she gave me full direction in marketing her, her company, and the ‘Film Noir’ fashion show in August.

Description of Firm:

Madina Vadache LLC., is a ten year old label. New to Seattle in 2003, Vadache is involved in local fashion shows such as Seattle Fashion Week, and has had her collections sold in stores such as The Finery. She has a significant amount of clientele for the Seattle area, however her goal as of 2011 was to expand her business in a few ways. She is opening a store in downtown Bellevue in the Elements building, as well as trying to get her label in more stores.

Job Description:

My internship broke down to multiple projects. My first project was creating a press release and brief biography of Madina Vadache and her recent work. In conjunction with that I also created an excel spreadsheet of different magazines, blogs, websites, radio stations, newspapers, etc. that would be appropriate communities of people who would have interest in the fashion show and her clothing line. After completing that, I had a meeting with the event coordinator to make sure that our visions were congruent for the marketing of the fashion show. I also made contact with Living Social and Seattle Art School, and gave students and others opportunities to attend the fashion show by creating price bundling deals.

The Fashion Show was a hit. The tickets sold out and there were at least ten different press journalists. The event was well covered and flowed perfectly. The night was a perfect statement of elegance and glamour for Madina Vadache LLC.

After that I participated in post-fashion show and pre-store opening financial meetings. I created a demographic analysis of the Seattle area in aspects such as how many women ages 20-60 live in the area, how much on average do the spend on clothing, average income of those women, and so on. These numbers helped judge how many garments should be produced, and answered other important financial questions.

Reflection:

The internship was such an amazing opportunity and I am so thankful I got the chance to work with a startup company; and because my involvement was very significant, I could see the changes and improvements in the company. I am proud of what I accomplished and thankful for all the people I met.

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Sarame Corp. Marketing Internship

March 2011-June 2011 Bellingham/Seattle

Overview:

I worked on a team of three Western Washington students, all of us pursuing marketing degrees; this was when I was a junior and they both seniors, so my marketing skills were not as developed as the rest of my team, this however helped me learn marketing skills in an onsite basis. Our objective was to market the company of Sarame and its CEO Jonathan Main to the Seattle area.

Description of firm:

Sarame Corporate Holdings is a consulting firm for Pacific-Rim Liaison services. More specifically Sarame was originally incorporated as an umbrella organization for the family’s early stage angel investments, LLC-LP businesses and US-Asia real estate holdings. SARAME has evolved into an executive, business development, operations, and supply chain consulting firm with clients and partners in WA, CA, PA, NY and Canada.

Job Description:

Because it was a team of marketing students we broke down the tasks into three categories, web development/social networking, press release/PR, and research and development. My project focused on the research and development. I gathered information about the Seattle area media outlets that would be beneficial to send press releases to. Also I used the university’s online database to collect data about the competitors and helped develop a marketing plan for Sarame. Lastly I had to find speaking engagements Jonathan could share his experience and get his name into the professional setting, as well as appropriate conferences he could attend.

The team met once a week to discuss our developments as well as assign new tasks. We met with Jonathan once every three weeks to display our progress; Jonathan introduced us to new environments such as Venture Velocity—a venture that works with emerging companies to accelerate their growth through strategic planning, due diligence preparation and targeted resource introductions—and he taught us key fundamentals and nuances of the business world.

Reflection:

This was my first step into the business world and I was slightly timid to approach the team and CEO with my ideas, however in the end I felt as though my work was valued and my team could not have done the work without me. I learned a lot about networking skills as well as technical skills. The marketing team worked very well together, I think we all benefitted by setting goals for one another and helping each other out.

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