This summer I completed my internship with Kendo Brands Inc. in San Francisco, California. I was fortunate to find it through a family connection; my Aunt Michelle saw my passion for visual merchandising and my growing interest in the beauty industry and introduced me to the leader of the of the Visual Merchandising department.
Kendo Brands is a beauty brand developer and wholesaler that creates or acquires beauty brands and focuses on making them into global powerhouses. Kendo is a division of LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) and is part of the Perfume and Cosmetics group. The Kendo Brands family consists of Kat Von D Beauty, Bite Beauty, Ole Henriksen, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Formula X and Fenty Beauty by Rihanna (launching in fall 2017!).
Throughout the summer I was an intern on the visual merchandising team, but when I was between projects I would assist other departments such as Copy Writing and Global Education. Every day my responsibilities changed, and that is why I love the retail world -- it keeps you on your toes. New projects were constantly coming up and either needed to be done right away or done within a specific timeline that included multiple parts. My general responsibilities included completing visual merchandising projects efficiently and on a timely basis. One of my first responsibilities was to log and organize all of the product in the creative room. It took days, but throughout the process, I was able to learn a lot about all the Kendo Brands and amazing products they sell. I assisted Amanda (Associate Manager, Global Visual Merchandising) with the Ole Henriksen planograms for stores around the world. While working with Amanda she was able to teach me how to use InDesign and Photoshop. The programs were tricky at first, but as I kept practicing and asking Amanda a million questions I finally got the hang of it. Using Photoshop, I was able to create planograms for the Ole Henriksen Holiday displays.
I also really enjoyed transcribing makeup tutorials for Marc Jacobs Beauty and Kat Von D Beauty. I had to go through every product video and type word for word what Gilbert Soliz (Global Makeup Artist for Marc Jacobs Beauty) and Kat Von D said, then have the word document sent out to be translated into multiple languages. One time I had to go on a hunt for Kat Von D product images through thousands of product image files. Once I found the images I renamed them based on the Debenhams guidelines for using images on the United Kingdom department store’s website. One of the most fun and messy projects I worked on was helping the education team package products to be used for an event. One of the products was for the launch of Marc Jacobs Beauty Air Blush. A group of girls and I had to distribute a giant tube of Japanese air powder into tiny containers. The powder was so light and felt like silk. All of us were wearing trash bags to cover our clothes and the powder still got everywhere. It was amazing to see the raw ingredients that go into making these unbelievable products! Every day was a new learning experience in the area of visual merchandising. From seeing how the gondola is created to how the product will sit on the unit in store,. It has to express a spirit or story to the customer.
My previous course work has helped me with this internship by teaching me time management and how to work well with different people. Having multiple projects going on during the school year is tough but it has taught me how to divide and conquer. Previous course work has shown me how split my time up and do what I can or need to do now, and then move onto the next project. At my internship I have had projects overlap and have had to divide my time wisely to get everything done on time. I focused on what was due first then moved onto the next project. I have taken away from my course projects how to work with different people with all kinds of talent. The office is filled with different backgrounds and different personalities. You need to know how to effectively communicate and strive toward results with others so that nothing gets lost in translation or overlooked.
Some advice I would give to fellow students looking for internships is to go to every event the school hosts such as networking events, workshops, speakers and, most importantly, the career fair. You need to get your name out there! Keep your resume and LinkedIn profile updated. Most importantly make sure the internship you choose is what you have a passion for. Throughout the experience remember to be yourself and always have a positive attitude. Everyday I am forever grateful for this experience and for Kendo allowing me to be a part of the team this summer. I’m excited for what the future holds. Bear Down!