Now that I'm officially back from my mini travel-spree, I wanted to get right back to this post I've been planning forever. A couple months ago, I had the opportunity to do a couple installation and display work at Anthropologie through their visual internship program. I thought it would be a fun post to share and talk about how I got the job, what I did and include some tips for landing the internship!
First of all, you have to be enrolled as a student and must be able to receive school credit in order to apply for the internship. To do this, you have to receive an appropriate form from your school counselor and have another professor sign it with you. The internship duration is 90 days max and is very flexible in terms of how many hours you can work. And yes, it is a PAID internship! I can work as little as one day a week or full-time as long as it's the morning shift, which is from 6am-3pm. Sometimes, we were asked to come in for an overnight shift, which started as early 3am. It sounds pretty crazy but I began to enjoy waking up before sunrise once I got used to the routine.
To provide a little bit of background, it's my last year at my university and I really wanted to do this internship before I graduated. My fall and spring semesters are usually jam packed so I applied for the summer term online. I applied through indeed.com and filled out a simple application that listed my general info and answered some questions about me. Because this was a creative position, I designed my cover letter + resume to better fit the job description. The application also required for me to submit an inspiration board that shows your style as well as understanding of the company's aesthetic. Using Photoshop, I put together a collage of some of my favorite images from Pinterest, saved it as a PDF, and submitted it along with the application. You want to be expressive with this project but be sure to keep the shop's look in mind and include subtle details that would appeal to an Anthro customer!
About a week later, I received an email asking to come in for an in-person interview, which was only a couple days from the notice. I had class that day so I responded asking for a reschedule. I waited another week and didn't get a response so I gave the store a call to let them know my situation. They told me that the spot was already filled but they were looking for visual interns for the Fashion Island location and asked if I'd like to apply for the Anthro in Newport Beach. Although it's a lot further from me, I absolutely love the Anthropologie in Fashion Island so I resubmitted my application. A couple days later, I got connected with their Visual Manager and got rescheduled an interview. All my friends who work there told me that the way I dressed was very important and should aim to reflect the store's aesthetic so I put together a more mature outfit with a white silk blouse, printed trousers, brown lace-up heels and a mustard knitted cardigan for a pop of color. The interview was a lot more relaxed than I had originally expected and the manager was really sweet. She just asked me questions about my hobbies and interests and what I want to get out of the internship. I brought in a visual portfolio with slides of work I've done (including displays, merchandising, styling) and showed her on my Ipad. The whole interview lasted about 15 minutes so I wasn't sure if I had gotten the job but a few days later, I received a call saying I was hired! This entire process took about a month, so be patient and send a friendly followup email :)
What a workday looked like
The first thing I noticed was how friendly the girls were. I consider myself a pretty extroverted person but these girls had 5 times more energy than I did! It took some time to get used to but I ended up having so much fun working with them. There are so many employees and different positions but the visual team usually comprises of VM (Visual Manager), Senior VM (sometimes), Window Display Coordinator, Visual Merchandiser and finally, Visual Intern(s). The Fashion Island Location is an A-volume store, which means we have a lot of foot traffic and have higher sales, so we had a larger visual team. Generally, we worked from project to project so we did something different everyday. As you may have noticed, Anthro constantly changes their displays and the visual team are the little elves running around to make that happen. I did everything from cutting paper, mixing plaster, spray painting, dying fabric, scraping wine bottles, and the list goes on! As fun as it sounds, this job is actually intensively laborious and you have to be willing to get your hands (hair, clothes, and everything else) DIRTY. If you're into that sort of thing like I am, then you will love it! Also if you aren't familiar with using tools, you will definitely become more acquainted with them. We used hammers, wood cutters and power drills on a regular basis as well as crafty things like paint, scissors and paper. My favorite project was creating watercolor hand lettered signs for the store and making pretty paper flowers all day. My least favorite was being squished in the front window, hot glue gunning strips of plastered muslin and getting burned every 20 minutes. All in all, here are some projects I got to work on:
I tell this to anyone who has asked how my overall experience is and the truth is I absolutely loved it! Even before the internship, I loved to walk in to Anthropologie and admire their beautiful installations. Once I got the job, I appreciated them even more once I understood how much work goes into each display! During my internship, I was also working as a social media specialist so it was nice to come in and get crafty every other day and then do product styling on the other days. After my internship duration, I could have moved onto being a sales associate/part-time visual but I decided to leave my day jobs to launch Chasing Linen full time, which was the best decision I made all summer (you can read about it here.) Still, it was an amazing experience and I will never forget it! Later this month, I'll be meeting up with Emily who was the Window Display Coordinator at Anthropologie and I'll be shooting a behind the scenes/ DIY post of her beautiful window displays! She is one of the most talented people I know so I'm so excited to do this collaboration and can't wait to share with you!