Sunday, August 31, 2014

My Summer as a Fashion Intern


I can't believe August is coming to an end and we'll be welcoming September on Monday. Jeez, time just seems to fly by. I've already been back at college for a week! I know you guys are probably so sick of me dropping off of the face of the Earth, then coming back again. I'm so sorry about that! I'm not going to bore you with a thousand and one excuses about why I haven't posted much lately. 

I've made a little personal goal with myself that I will post at least once a month. I'll try to post more than that but my goal is once a month. I'm gonna make it work!

One of the main reasons why I've been so busy is because I got an internship this summer. I was informed about the internship through my school; a boutique in Little Italy, Ohio called 'Tre Sorelle' boutique was looking for an intern.  I put in my resume and I was surprised when the owner actually wanted to interview me. I was even more shocked when my boss, Christina Cavotta, hired me. 

 Tre Sorelle Boutique has been around for three years now and it is one of the most darlings shops I've ever seen! Christina gets most of the clothing from the garment district in New York and LA, the items she picks are on trend yet very unique. I highly doubt I could find most of these items in a Forever 21 or a Wet Seal.

She only gets three of each item; so a cute dress will come in one S, M, and L - once those items are gone, they're gone and it's onto new stuff. If I could, I'd take all the items in there for myself. The clothing is mostly in junior sizes so they do tend to run a little small but I think there is something for everyone in there. There's clothes, bags, accessories, stuff like candles, soaps, and what not. The crowd that shops at the boutique is very diverse; there's young preteens, teenagers, college students, young adult women, mom's, elderly women, etc. 

My duties as a fashion intern varied, I was pretty much all over the place. In many ways I guess my duties were just like any sales associates; opening the boutique, greeting customers and providing excellent customer service, I put bags together, made sure the store was neat and organized, taking down the total sales for that day, and closing up the store.

However, the experience was so much different than my crappy grocery store job. I was working in an environment and selling stuff I was actually passionate about. I got to experience what it felt to work at a job I actually liked. Unlike my regular job, I didn't feel that awful feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach before I had to go in.  Everyday was different, I never knew who would walk in that door or how busy the day would be. 

Some days would be unbelievably slow and others days would be so busy that I could barely think. I interacted with some very interesting people and enjoyed hearing people's lovely comments about the store, the shop window, and seeing their faces when they came out of the dressing room to show off the clothes they were trying on. I found myself having conversations with some of the most interesting people. First time customers who had never been in the store before I would see them pop in a week or two later. It was so interesting and fun!

As an intern I also got to help out my boss with her 'Miami Vice' summer fashion show at Shooters. Christina has a fashion show every season and I can't remember for sure, but I think it was her twelfth or thirteenth fashion show. I was there all day and was all over the place. I arrived hours before the show started to help her and her family set up for the fashion show; I set out little decor and set up a little shop for our products. I was backstage for the whole show helping the models get dressed, making sure they were all in their correct order, and ready to strut their stuff when it was their turn. All of them were very sweet and kind, when I told them that I was an intern a lot of them wished me luck after college which means so much to me.

Before my internship, I hadn't visited Little Italy in years so I never was around for all the little events that happened there. Unless I was with my dad, I never really bummed around Cleveland much in general. I just never had anyone to really explore with and driving around there always overwhelms me with the endless traffic and construction.

During my internship, I got to see bits of the city that I never really seen before and I participated in events that I haven't been to before. My boss started doing these 'pop up shops' around Cleveland. Basically she would set up shop at different locations such as bars and restaurants. Instead of barhopping it's barshopping which I thought was such an interesting, cool concept. People who have never been to Little Italy could see some of the items the boutique has, buy some stuff, and hopefully come visit in the future.

I worked during La Notte Bianca, an Italian tradition where the shops and museums are open all night, it's something Little Italy adopted and I thought it was really nice. I also worked during The Feast, it has some Catholic religious connotations that I can't remember at the moment but there's tons of food, drinks, music, a carnival, and shops selling festive Italian themed stuff. It was huge! Never again will I complain about parking down there on a regular day when I had to find a space for The Feast. It was a constant flow of business but it was really, really fun. 

I had such an amazing summer and the main reason was because of my internship. I cracked that shy shell of mine even more and I improved so much socially. I was surprised at how effortless it was to make conversation with some of the customers that walked in and I'm so proud of myself for that feat! 

 My love for the fashion industry has only deepened. I learned so much about running a business and how much passion small business owners put into their shops or restaurants. They have to!  Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against big businesses. At one point they were just a small business themselves and they were able to get huge, which I think is great! I shop at all the popular mall stores like Forever 21, H&M, and etc. So I'd be a hypocrite if I said I was against them. But I will say that small businesses offer such a unique shopping experience compared to chain stores.

Christina Cavotta is such an amazing boss. When I first applied for the internship I was a little nervous that I'd have to deal with someone like Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada, I'm so glad that I was wrong. Christina is one of the nicest people I've ever met; she always seems to have a smile on her face and radiates such positive energy. It's not hard to see why when you meet her family. They're all so incredibly nice and very supportive. Before I interned, she was basically running the whole shop herself and her mom would help her out. It's so cool to see a smart, open minded, friendly female business owner in this male dominated world. 

If I could pass on one piece of advice that I was given to by many fashion students and alumni from my school it's this: if you're looking for an internship, intern for at least one small business. You'll have a more personable relationship with your boss and learn so much. Working for a small business, especially in the fashion industry, means wearing different hats because there are less employees compared to a bigger business. You're doing multiple things and that's what you'll get to experience. Seriously, if you have the chance, do it! 

The best part about all of this is that Christina decided to take me on part time! I was very sad at the thought of having to leave and now I don't have to. I quit my grocery store job and am now working at the boutique occasionally while I'm in school. I am so thrilled!

This is a very long blog post but I hope you guys like it! Expect more hauls from me since I'm working at the boutique. In fact I'm going to try to post a haul sometime next week as long as I'm not too busy with school. 

Have you ever had an internship? Where was it and how was your experience? What piece of advice would you give to those who are currently looking for an internship or just got one? 

I hope you all have a wonderful day and thanks for reading! :) 

P.S. if you're ever in Cleveland and you want something to do, here's the address to the boutique. 

12403 Mayfield Road, Cleveland, OH

Here's all of Tre Sorelle's Social Media: 

IG: shop_tre
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