Hey guys, I wanted to post yesterday, but I ran out of time. It’s amazing how little time you have once you have a full time job. Crazy right? I think most of my postings will come on weekends seems I’ll have more time, but I wanted to fill you guys in on my first two days.
Day One – Orientation
If any of you have ever held a job then you’ve probably gone through orientation. Typically orientation is fairly boring, lots of information, and lots of sitting maybe. I will admit, there was a lot of information and a lot of sitting, but it was far from boring. As soon as I walked into the building, I was welcomed with friendly faces and a large sign promoting the Limited Brands Internship Program.
All of the Columbus interns, about 118 of us, had the opportunity to hear about Limited Brands’ company culture and history. I was deeply inspired, especially after finding out that Limited Brands is the largest found-led company. Whoa, that’s incredible to me. Les Wexner, who began his empire in 1963, is so passionate and so extremely dedicated to his work. I took away a lot from orientation, but I was intrigued by a quote from Les himself:
“…The most important thing we’ve learned is this: nothing happens until the customer says, ‘I’ll take it.’” - Les Wexner
Simple, but extremely true. Limited Brands delivers products that customers want, creating customers for life. Interns also attended a seminar about making the most of our internship. We also had a panel of returning interns present to answer any questions we might have. I am already making real, genuine connections. After all of the information, the head of University Relations surprised us with a full-blown carnival! Excuse me? They provided us with everything from free food, a photobooth, games, product samples, and Pink mini dogs (which came from a Pink vending machine)! I even got to decorate my own bra and panty cookies (I did have a little help from new intern friends!)
Today, I met with my direct manager/mentor. Her name is Rachel, and she is part of the swim merchandise category team. I’ll be honest, I totally wasn’t even thinking about being a merchant for swim because at my store back home, we are so focused on CORE rather than EMERGING categories. If any of my co-workers are reading this, you probably have mixed feelings. I will say, after working all day with Rachel, I am very excited to see what opportunities there are in swim. It’s a product that I am fairly unfamiliar with, so I am excited to break outside of my comfort zone and help expand an emerging category.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Rachel for two very different conference calls. The most interesting one was when she called her production producer in NYC and the VSD (Victoria’s Secret Direct) merchandiser to discuss production costs, retail prices, markup, and more. The whole time I kept thinking about everything I learned in Product Development (thanks Caroline!). In my head I thought, “Wow, I get to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom to my job finally!” Seems silly, but it was time for practical application not just school assignments and projects.
As I am a very curious person, I wandered around the office when I had a bit of free time. I met this wonderful woman on the Marketing Strategy team. After she asked me if I was lost, I told her that I was an intern and was curious to look at the different departments. She was so incredibly welcoming, and invited me to email her sometime soon to sit down and talk about the business and life in general. Exciting! I was a mere intern and she wanted to learn more about me and talk more about her job in order to further my knowledge of the different cross-functional teams.
Later, all the merchandise interns and associate merchants sat down together for a meeting. We talked more about rules and expectations set for us. We also talked about the various seminars we will be attending. We will get the chance to hear from people from Store Operations, Marketing, Visual Merchandising, and more! There is one in particular I am VERY EXCITED about, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Additionally, there’s something awesome planned for the end of June – a trip to NYC! VSS will be flying the merchandising interns out to NYC for two days to visit with the Creative/Design Team. Pinch me now. What a dream. Rachel already informed me that I will experience and see a totally different part of the business. She even said the vibe in the NYC offices is different, which I don’t doubt! I will definitely keep you guys updated on everything.
Finally…as I looked around the room, I could not believe it: out of the hundreds, even thousands, of applicants, only 10 wonderful women were select to be interns this summer for the VSS merchandising team. I admit I was very humbled.
And that’s it. My first two days at Limited Brands were extraordinary. A lot of information was covered, but I am so excited to just jump in and get started on what I can confidently say will be an opportunity of a lifetime. Oh yeah, I even got a name badge.