Yaning Inzunza developed her creative and entrepreneurship skills, as she launched her own business, Pocket Crush.
Why did you choose this internship?
I chose to launch Pocket Crush, which focuses on selling cute (K-pop/character) keychains because I always enjoyed the freedom and happiness creative spaces brought me. This opportunity allowed me to be able to combine my love for creativity and also my business knowledge and passion for K-pop on a greater scale. Prior to this, I wasn’t aware of such an opportunity within the UofA, but after taking the PAH 383 Pre-Internship: Building Career Readiness course where I learned that a creative and entrepreneurship internship was possible, I was convinced and encouraged to pursue my long time dream. In the beginning, it felt incredibly intimidating to take on a non-traditional internship route but because I was so passionate about it I decided to believe in the possibility of making the best out of a once in a lifetime opportunity.
What is unique about your situation that influenced your internship experience?
I believe that coming from a competitive business program prior to changing my major to the Applied Humanities influenced my outlook on wanting creative freedom. Back then, I was constantly encouraged to pursue internships/career paths in well developed business corporations and the profitable sectors, but they paid little to no attention in being creative and doing things differently. When I took my first semester in the Public and Applied Humanities major, I was surprised and relieved to see how much value the program places on helping us define what WE want. It truly allowed me to develop a different perspective and ambition and I decided to use my transferable skills in design and business onto a self-made internship.
What new knowledge and skills did you develop in your internship?
Throughout my internship I was put to the test to handle different roles in digital design, photography, video editing, marketing, financing, logistics, and managing product development. Most of the knowledge and skills I had on creating artistic posts and flyers came from years of experience at my on-campus job and AP art courses which I polished and enhanced when handling new programs and sites. Additionally, my artistic and technical skills were further developed through the photoshoots and videos I recorded for products as they required hours of planning and developing. I also learned and practiced knowledge in communication, problem-solving, adaptability, setting goals, multitasking, and organizational skills.
What was the most satisfying part of your internship?
The most satisfying part of my internship was the feedback and interactions I received from my online friends. I recall posting my first Instagram reel for my K-pop collection and noticed that it had the highest number of likes, shares, and comments. Statistically speaking that was good for business, but what really made me happy was the messages my friends sent me saying they loved them and how they will continue to support my business. When I released the initial preview of my website, one of my international friends sent me a heartfelt message telling me how much she loved the aesthetics of the page and was overall happy and supportive of my site. These types of interactions were incredibly meaningful to me because they came from people I love and share a passion for the music and community with.
Another meaningful part of my internship was how I also provided inspiration to my mentor to continue on with their business. As I partnered with Desert Berry and continued to update and discuss the progress of my shop with the owner, I noticed that she became more enthusiastic about taking different approaches to marketing and product development. I exchanged software applications/methods and taught her the benefits and how to use them. My introduction to the different ways she could promote her business also sparked new ideas and interests for her. I believe that being able to put on a new perspective for her was a significant experience for both my business and her’s.
What did you find most challenging about your internship?
The most challenging aspect about my internship was concising my thoughts and ideas within different categories. For example, product development required a lot of trial and error and choosing what would best function for my target audience etc., but it also meant creating prototypes that aligned with my brand. Marketing also required knowing competitors in the same industry and identifying and assessing the CX (customer experience) through publications and interactions. These, like many of the other roles of my business, entailed constant problem solving by outweighing the excessive ideas and solutions I proposed to these challenges. Thus, I learned to take note of every idea that came to mind and eliminate those that weren’t fulfilling the needs of my business or customers. Additionally, with the help of my mentor, I was able to overcome unexpected and static challenges I couldn’t solve on my own.
What advice do you have for other students as they consider what to do for their internship?
The number one advice I want to give other students is, do not be afraid or intimidated to take on a non-traditional creative, entrepreneurial, or innovative internship. I want them to know that just because others are doing work with well grounded industry professionals and establishments doesn’t mean they should put aside their dreams just to fit in. I managed to create a business based on my passion for K-pop when nobody around me listens to or talks about it. I encourage them to look outside of the academic structure and connect any passion of theirs into a possible business/career. Remember, the Public and Applied Humanities internship is one of the few programs (if not the only one) that enables a non-traditional learning experience and approach toward academic credit. This is a valuable learning opportunity!