Acacia Reeder pursued an entrepreneurial internship to expand her vintage fashion resell business, Lemonn Vuitonn.
Why did you choose to pursue an entrepreneurial internship?
I chose the entrepreneurial-focused internship because it gave me the opportunity to build my vintage clothing business and brand. I have been building my vintage-selling business for about three years. The opportunity of the entrepreneurial internship during the summer gave me the chance to focus on my business and brand without the added stress or time commitments of schoolwork and a job that I have during the fall and spring semesters. My goal in doing this option was to build the online presence of my brand and increase my business virtually. I believe that the summer was the best time to work on this because summer is the slow season for vending events like flea markets. Because of this decrease in in-person customers, I chose to seize the opportunity to reach online customers.
What kind of work did you do throughout your internship experience?
Throughout my internship experience, I did many different activities to achieve my goal of building the online presence of my business and brand. One activity I did almost every day was source vintage clothing to sell. I am very particular about the type of vintage clothing I sell and I opt for quality over quantity. This is why it was very important for me to spend a lot of the time sourcing clothing because frequently, I would not find anything that met that standard. It was beneficial to source frequently to increase my chances of finding quality vintage clothing. Also, I always launder the clothing after I source it. After I launder the clothing, I model and photograph it so that I can post pictures that showcase the fit and style of the clothing accurately in a way that matches the aesthetics of my brand. To build an online presence it is important to have a unique brand, so I created content and logos to post on social media to increase the exposure of my brand.
What is unique about your situation that influenced your internship selection?
My situation is unique because I already had a vintage clothing business established prior to the start of my internship. This is why I made the decision to pursue the entrepreneurial-focused option as opposed to a traditional internship. I was excited about the opportunity because, similar to a traditional internship, if I am successful in building my brand, it is a job that I can do post-graduation. Also, I am very passionate about vintage clothing and sustainability so the entrepreneurial option was perfect for me.
What was your favorite part of your internship?
My favorite part of my internship was learning new skills through growing my brand. I learned new graphic design and photography skills through designing logos and content as well as photographing pieces for the online shops. Also, I learned a lot about forecasting trends to ensure I had pieces that people would be interested in. This was exciting because it allowed me to look ahead into upcoming seasons and predict if a piece would sell or not.
What did you find challenging about your internship?
One aspect I found challenging was time management and holding myself accountable to get tasks done. Since my internship was entrepreneurial-focused, I was my own boss. I made my own schedule and was responsible for sticking to that schedule in order to fulfill the amount of hours I needed to earn academic credit. At times it was difficult to complete tasks because I was on vacation, but I learned to plan ahead and do more work on certain days. Other times I had to remind myself that it was my responsibility to stick to a set schedule in the same way I would in a traditional internship which would help me to motivate and complete tasks. If on certain days I felt I did not complete what I needed to get done or meet the time requirement for the week, I would work on days I did not plan to in order to make up for it. Another challenge was that I had some anxiety around social media and creating content for my account. This is something that I had to overcome in order to increase exposure for my brand.
How has your internship experience influenced your plans for your future?
My internship experience has influenced my plans for my future by inspiring me to pursue this kind of career for the rest of my life. Even if it is just a side hustle and I have a more traditional full time job, I really enjoy being involved in selling vintage clothing. It is exciting for me to be a part of making clothing circular and helping to reduce clothing waste. I intend to continue growing my business and brand online with the hopes of making this a career I can depend on financially.
What advice do you have for other students as they begin their internship?
My advice for students that are searching for or beginning an internship is to not let fear rule over your search or your internship experience. Being an intern is all about learning and taking in new ideas and experiences. You should not be afraid to make mistakes or ask questions because that is a crucial part of the learning process. During my internship, I was very anxious about making mistakes on social media. I would ask myself, “what if this post is not good enough” or “what if people do not like it”. After berating myself into thinking that what I am doing is not good enough, I would feel like not doing it at all which does not help me or my brand. I had to overcome the fear of not being good enough because doing something is better than doing nothing. It helps you to learn.