Wilson College of Textiles rising senior Anna Owen is a Fashion and Textile Management major, minoring in Business Administration at NC State. The High Point, North Carolina native is currently a merchandising intern in the Wrangler Jeans Youth department at VF Corporation. She previously interned at the High Point Market, served as an assistant at New York Fashion Week and was the photo studio coordinator intern at Peter Millar. She has worked as a sales associate and stylist at J. Crew and several boutiques, volunteers with Ronald McDonald House charities, serves as public relations chair of both Alpha Delta Pi sorority and NC State Club Tennis and studied abroad in Italy, among other experiences. We asked her to share her experience as an intern with VF and her advice for those seeking a similar opportunity.
What was it like to be an intern at VF Corporation?
The day-to-day tasks of my job varied; however, it was a lot of making sure the products are sorted and organized within our line room. I made various competitor analysis PowerPoints, as well as assortment sheet PowerPoints. My role was mainly merchandising, but I did work closely with the design team to assure Excel documents were updated and mood boards were complete. I was also very fortunate to sit in on meetings for fabric analysis, and even to learn about the construction of our garments.
How did you find out about your internship opportunity?
I found out about this internship through a mutual connection. I contacted a family friend who then put me in contact with a woman who works there, and she then passed my information along to my current boss. I went in for an interview and at the end, she gave me my start date.
What was your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part about the job is definitely how hands-on it was. I gained so much experience this summer in the merchandising field and even in the design field, where I truly lacked knowledge. Just to prove how hands-on this job was, I was able to create my own pair of Wrangler jeans. I went to the cut & sew lab, and started from just fabric (with the assistance of a professional, of course). However, sitting there for a day sewing together my own jeans, I learned how much actually goes into our products. Jeans are much more detail-oriented than one could ever imagine! This particular experience helped me with the rest of the summer — simply by understanding each section of the garment. Aside from the actual job itself, I have made some good friends along the way. I was the only Merchandise intern in the Youth department; however, the people I have been working with are absolutely incredible and make the 40-minute commute all worth it.
Can you describe a typical day on the job?
A typical work day for me started at 8 a.m. Once I arrived to the office, I would ask my boss what she needed me to complete for the day. Usually she would give me smaller tasks, such as ordering products from the garment library, or organizing the line room to prepare it for a meeting or the next season. Once finished with the morning tasks, I would go to lunch at noon and break for an hour. We would have a team meeting every Tuesday to discuss upcoming due dates, which would mainly be for buyer meetings, line sheet and shipment dates. Once the meeting concluded, I would most likely make another PowerPoint on research regarding competitors or even on our current product assortments, then leave at 5 p.m.
What is your advice for fellow internship seekers?
My advice for fellow internship seekers would be to start finding connections as early as possible. Get on LinkedIn and start contacting people, even if you do not know them. Look for connections who also attended NC State — most likely, they will love to answer any questions and help in any way they can. Keep in mind, companies will say no to you; however, do not let that get your head down. Pick your head up and keep trying, keep sending out emails, and keep meeting people. This is the only way to be noticed and to get where you should be. Realize that LinkedIn will be your best friend and definitely keep an open mind while searching for jobs.
What have you learned so far?
So far, I have learned to always give 110% to any task. I have learned that I need to do everything in my power to make my boss look good and to make her job easier — after all, that is the job of an intern. I have learned that in order to stay busy, that may mean that you have to go to your boss a few times a day asking for tasks. This is not a bad thing — your boss wants to see your willingness to help and your ability to be proactive. An internship is essentially a job interview for your career after graduation, which is exactly why it deserves your full attention at all times of the day. I have also learned that even if you are the only intern, you are allowed to make friends with the people on your team. A summer internship is definitely a short time; however, after working close to the girls on my team, I can definitely say I have made new best friends. This is the main reason VF Corporation has become so special to me.