This summer I decided to ditch my previous seasonal job and join Oak and Velvet's team as a marketing intern. I have compiled a list of the main things I learned at this great business.
1. Teamwork literally makes the dream work. Being an athlete, I have been accustomed by nature to work well with others. I did not realize that off the ice rink, working as a team in an office would be so necessary. At Oak & Velvet there is a factory and a showroom. They are on two separate floors. Despite being divided, everyone is still working together. From an operational standpoint I got to see how the O&V process works. It is similar to the iceberg motif. In the showroom your eyes widen at the beautiful furniture, but behind the doors employees are hard at work. In the factory the staff is cutting, sewing, building furniture for client's homes. Everyone does their part for the bettering of the team.
2. Communication is a necessity. Working in a team is ideal but communicating among the team and the clients has to be done to keep everyone on track. When clients submit an order the staff in the showroom has to deliver it to the workers downstairs. Keeping up on ordering materials is essential for the builders and upholsters to do their jobs. During this internship I learned that communicating with clients one of the most important parts of running a business. That is why I set up and automatic reply system for our website inquiries. Staying on top of phone calls and e-mails with fast responses or updates show the clients that you are dedicated to their job.
3. Listening and observing can teach you a lot. Something that is so simple really benefited my experience at O&V. I learned so much about interior design by listening to clients and designers talk about their designs and materials. Professionalism can be picked up easily by observing the workers around you by the way they present themselves. For example, something so casual- answering the phone. 'Good afternoon, Oak and Velvet this is Mikayla speaking, how may I help you?' Using this instead of 'Oak and Velvet this is Mikayla,' makes a big difference and shows that you are professional along with your company.
4. Branding! Branding! Branding! Consistently keeping the same brand logos, fonts, and sayings on social media, websites, prints, and e-mails is key. Branding is everything. When someone looks at the Oak and Velvet logo, they have to see 'Comfort Redefined,' or 'Fine Upholstered Furniture.' The color of the website and logo must stay consistent, along with every font, title size, and spacing. At the showroom, we present our brand as clean and comfortable luxury. To keep up with that brand, the showroom has to be cleaned daily, and the vignettes have to be kept updated.
5. Social media, websites, tech tools. There is no better way to keep clients, designers, and the community updated on your business in this age of technology. Social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are so useful to show all of the changes going on at O&V. We are currently making a catalog for our furniture line that I have been taking pictures for. I have been posting those pictures on social media and updating the website with them. I have learned to use a tool called Hootsuite to make scheduling and posting on social media a breeze. On Hootsuite, I can post on all of our social media platforms at the same time.
I went into this Summer not knowing what was going to come out of it but come to find out it was the greatest thing that could have walked in my path of opportunities. I am thankful for all I was taught, and all I learned. If you're not sure what you want to do with your Summer, or extra time in the Fall, apply for an internship. Real world experience is worth the time you invest because there is so much there in return. Check out O&V for an internship this fall! They're currently hiring, so take advantage of the opportunity and apply today!
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