Internship Blog

Day 8:

Today we had the recognition meeting for the region.  WE got there early and made sure that we were ready.  This was our regional manager’s first recognition meeting as well as mine.  In the meeting they go over their monthly figures and goals. They talk about little ways to improve and to make sure they keep all the department managers motivated and focused.  Our region was still growing and they had high goals to achieve for the month.  After that they recognized everyone that was new to the company including us interns. We then continued to honor the top sellers and customer service for the region. 

Once that was done we were given a speech by one of the brother’s who is part of the family owners.  He gave a real down to earth speech and also made some valuable points he had taken from articles he read.  The speech was motivational, inspirational, informational and more.  Everything you could ask for.  My manager and I took notes throughout the speeches.  After that we met with him as just interns and he asked us questions and told us a lot about how he got into his spot. 

I then went to a department meeting with my mentor manager to talk about the anniversary sale.  It was very interesting and I got to see swatches of the new fabrics for the fall collections of certain brands. 

Overall it was a fun day. Very inspiring to continue to succeed and made me want to be a manager so that I could show how much growth I can give to a department I can have control of.  I am learning a lot and see how managers interact and also help each other out. 

Day 7:  

Today wasnt too bad. Went to the distribution center and took a tour of it. Then had a recap of everything we learned with seminars from different managers from the region.  After that I went back to the store and sold for an hour and a half and went home. Very easy day.

One thing to remember is to appreciate everyone who works for the company even the ones behind the scenes. They are all important and very special to the company.  

Day 6:

First day on the floor, 6th day of work. Was pretty nervous getting out on the floor and actually fighting for my life. I dont make an hourly wage so everything is based off my performance and selling of that day. I was very unsure I would even be able to sell 1k which was supposed to be a piece of cake. I ended the day with 2.5k. I made around 21/hr and I am very happy with that. I couldnt have been happier with my performance while at the same time learning a lot about my team. 

I am having the same experience as I had at footlocker with the team atmosphere.  There are a couple of employees, mainly one or two in particular that see me as a threat.  You can tell because they will try to pick off customer’s from me and then use the “o i said hello to them” (so i should get the sale), even though I know they didnt help them at all and just want the walk up sale, while I made sure they had the right sizes and made sure they were all set and what not. But because they said “hello” they should get the sale?? This is going to be a tough road to follow again since, I do take my job seriously and I truly want to outperform everyone (not because I dont like them or think I am better, but I like to see what my best can be).  I think it may sometimes seem as if I am trying to take their jobs or I am taking money away from them, but to be honest I dont care if they are going to act the way they are and trying to just take customers away from me. I wont retaliate but I am slowly seeing who I can trust and who I need to watch out for. I feel bad that I always have some really good company while selling, and then there is that thorn that keeps picking at me randomly throughout the day. Hopefully I can change their outlook on my selling and “say hello and help everyone” attitude. I get the “look”, like I am going to steal their customer, just because I said “hello.” And I hate that. If you helped them you helped them, all I did was say hello and ask if they need anything since it looks like they have a question or cant seem to find a size, and you are nowhere near them. I could care less if you or I get the sale as long as the customer doesnt have to stress over looking for sizes or the right products and feels good about the purchase. 

Ok back to the day, I met great people after talking to my customers while servicing them.  Some were going on a trip to europe, others were from europe, and then we had the occasional family shopping for a father’s day present. I also met a couple Stanford graduates and high school graduates. Lots of business men too. It was great to have a more personal and inviting environment to get to know your customer compared to my last sales job.  I am slowly getting comfortable talking to strangers and not feeling nervous or sweating. 

One sale that stuck out in my head and made me feel real good was a lady who was shopping for her trip to europe. She needed new underwear for her son and husband. I helped her find the sizes she needed, we were very short on stock in some sizes, but we found alternatives. She then proceeded to pay for them.  It was a decent sale.  We talked for a bit and had a great conversation about where they were going and how long they would be there for. She left happy and I continued to sell.  Maybe less than 30 minutes later, she comes back and asks me a question about the neck sizes and how they correlate to S M L XL. She complained to me that she asked the same question to an associate in the Rail and he gave her “I dunno go ask them over there.” She was a little upset but then said something like, “I would think he would have at least wanted a sale, but you were so nice and helpful I would like to come back to you.” I was so excited, its my first day and I already have a repeat customer! She bought the polo for her husband and we sent her on her way. Another 30 minutes passes and she comes back to buy another shirt from me. She said that her husband might not like that shirt before so she would get a different one just in case. That is three transactions that came from great customer service and an awesome connection with the customer.  She trusted me and felt comfortable with me.  

I also opened a credit account during my first day, which most other associates said it took them months. I was helping a man with a shirt and we began talking. I mentioned the rewards card and he said yes! It was a lot more simple than I thought. For every activation we get candy, our name announced, and a monetary reward for our services. 

It was great to have the first day go so well. I handed off sales to our men’s clothing department, sadly they dont say thank you all that much but thats ok. Soon I wont be handing off many customers because I will have the product knowledge necessary to be able to sell everything in the store. But for the first day I am going to need to make sure I take my time. One or two times I over worked myself and ended up needing help ringing up my customers. One associate hated me after I asked her to help me ring up. Another, that helps me out in every way possible didnt mind and helped me out.  I was so grateful but at the same time the associate that grumbled about helping out made me really see some true colors.  I am slowly learning who to stay away from or at least know not to follow. That grumbling associate has not once helped me out or taught me anything yet she always asks the strangest questions trying to get to know me.  I will need to build that relationship slowly and make sure I dont step on her toes. 

I was very pleased with my performance today and hope that it only gets better. I think I surprised a lot of people with my selling and accomplishments for the day, and I hope my mentor manager sees how well I did for the first day.  Sometimes I feel like the team I have been placed into is threatened by me while other times I feel like I am part of the family here. Hopefully it gets better with the certain people but I will make sure it wont get worse. 

One thing to take away from today is that no matter who it is, what they want, or how they are shopping, we need to make sure we put out our best effort to serve the customer.  In my repeat customer case, the only reason she came back to me was because I made the effort to get to know her and why and what she needed.  It not only boosted my sales but I made a potential connection with a customer and built the trust that she will be getting great service.  In the case of the activation for our card, I dont think he would have wanted one, unless I told him all the benefits and everything like that. 

Next week is another long week. I will be visiting the Distribution Center and also going to a recognition meeting for the region.  Then back to the floor!

WDYWT: Grey suite, black shirt, black/silv/charc/white tie, black pants and belt.

Day 5:

Started later today. Took the PM MIC tour to check on all the departments like yesterday. Made sure everyone was on track and was going to make their goal. We then started to work on the schedules and my mentor showed me the overall ideas of how to make a schedule and goals. After that I went on the sale floor and started to sell a little bit. I wasnt too sure at first how to do it, my footlocker experience wasnt kicking in.  

My first couple sales were great, and then the other sales associates were getting a little territorial and started to be a little hostile.  They wanted to keep me busy with other things rather than take their sales.  They started to give me jobs, which I dont mind because I am going to have to do it anyways. Learned a lot from them.  Everything from returns, merch search, sales, setting up your pb and more. Had a couple sales stolen from me but I just let it go, Im the new guy still. And I will be until next week. Im just glad I am also an intern.

Later in the night I was told to try on shirts to feel the difference between our assortments of merchandise. I also was asked to match some ties to shirts.  Learned a lot like striped shirts go well with paisley ties. Thomas Pink, Hugo Boss, David Donahue, Nordstroms, Calibrate, 1901, Zegna, English Laundry, and more are our main sellers. Calibrate and nordstroms are the home brands while all the others are designers or other labels.

After trying on shirts I went back out on the sales floor and met with my manager again. Learned other things, signed into my account in their network. Learned how to pull up records and also how to see our gameplan and what we stand for.

Made the last rounds as PM MIC and ended up helping ring up a 4k$ sale that helped us make the day.  We were excited and then went to close. Helped a lady wait for her husband and then went out the door.

WDYWT: I wore my navy blazer, white shirt, charcoal and red tie, with dark khaki pants and brown shoes and belt.

Day 4:

Day 4 was a long day. First 3 hours we finished our POS training and also went over how to capture our repeat customer’s info and then how to send thank you’s and follow ups. It was exciting to see some of the things we have learned in school actually being practiced in my job. I also got to see the start of our new mobile POS system which is very exciting for this company. They are a little behind times but they are catching up.  We get ipads and itouches to help us.  Sadly in my department we dont get ipads. Men wont take the time to look through it I suppose and it does not add as much value as in other departments.

After our POS training I came back and worked with my mentor manager. He was MIC so it was cool to just jump right into it and see exactly what it takes to start the day as a PM MIC. We first had major trouble with the old computers but then we pulled up the reports and our shipments for the next day. After that we walked thru the whole store and took down everyones goals and who was closing. I MET SO MANY PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THAT TRIP! I cant imagine remembering all the names. It will take me time but hopefully I can do it.  I have learned everyone’s name in the departments next to us but throughout the whole store is going to be pretty crazy. After that we did a little visual merchandising and consolidated a 4-way. He was giving me product knowledge throughout the walk through and also showed me WWSF. Every department stands for something and right now we stand for a certain color and product mix.  We force that certain color or color combination in front of our department to help build a nice visual experience for the customers. Sometimes it is a certain type of product other times it will be just the main color. 

After that we helped a few customers, and then kept meeting different people.  I am very excited to learn more product knowledge and hopefully get to interact with customers. 

One thing to take away from today was just keep moving and always be on top of things. As an MIC you have a lot of jobs to take care of. He had to take calls, make sure every department was on track, while still keeping on track with his own department and what their needs were.  Its a tough job, but I feel like this may be a job I would like to pursue. They have a sort of checklist but it seems as if my manager was able to just run it through his head and take care of things. We took a break and had a nice coffee break to sit and talk more casual. We really got to know each other and it was fun. 

After that we met up with people in HR and POS. Learned how to measure for shirts, got to see more selling and also more product knowledge on shirt sizes and ties. Fun but very mind burning day. Hopefully it will become habit and everything will seem natural. 

WDYWT: I wore a very dark navy blazer, light blue with textured white stripes and checks, a blue and silver tie, dark charcoal pants, and black shoes and belt.

Day 3:

Today was a very short day got off around 12. Cant say much about what we did but overall basically learned the register and the promotions we have going on to help our customers and the company.  Learned a lot of logistics and basics behind the cash wrap. 

I met the new store manager and she was very enthusiastic and asked a bunch of questions. I love the atmosphere here and everyone is so nice. One thing that really stood out was while clocking out, I wasnt sure what to do.  All I did was ask a few questions and the kind lady at the home department helped me out. I dont think I’ve ever felt this energetic and enthusiastic about a job, even when selling Nikes and Jordans all day. 

Some things to take away from today. Take your time with each and every customer. Know the procedures from sales floor to the register. The rewards programs and my book are very important to my success and helping me find my own PLATINUM customers. 

Took a nice bike ride around my neighborhood to get some exercise. Ran home after hanging out with some friends.  Its gonna be hard to stay in shape with so little basketball but hopefully I can keep up.  Gotta stay somewhat healthy so I can continue to fit into my suits and jackets.

WDYWT: I wore my grey suit again, with a white shirt, dark red tie with a nice textured design, and brown shoes.

Day 2:

Day 2 was at my home store. We were taught by our HR Manager the whole day. It was another basic and, “more dry part,” in the words of our manager.  We started out with just a simple overview and history of how the company has grown and become one of the leading fashion specialty retailers in the world. We were also quizzed on this material and we have a book that we are supposed to start reading.  Better get on that!

The second part of the session was based on the inside of the company. All the different types of positions, tasks, and departments. We also saw different interviews on the dvd from salespeople, chefs, inventory teams and more.  The video really shows how the company takes care of everyone.  

One thing that really stuck out in my mind from this day was the whole culture of the company.  It’s hard to describe but from the very beginning I get this feeling like, “this is how a business should be run, this is what I want to be a part of.”

We learned about our compensation, and also got to learn more logistics and the overview of how everything is set up here.  Lastly we had a Loss Prevention meeting and learned some cool things the company does to help prevent shrinkage.

After the meeting was done, I went downstairs to meet with my department manager. I am so happy to be learning from this guy.  He seems so knowledgable, upbeat, friendly, outgoing and overall someone I feel I can learn a lot from.  He walked me around the department and basically gave me a rundown of each section. I cant wait to step out on the floor tomorrow and Friday to see what it really is like in the sea of all these great products. He took me to the back and showed me around.  Pretty small for our area but they are remodeling also. Met the alteration team in the back also.  Overall I am so excited to start working with my mentor manager. He played college ball so that is a definite plus. 

WDYWT: I wore a white shirt, blue and silver striped tie, and khakis with brown shoes and belt. Wanted to keep it simple this time. 

DAY 1:

Had my first official day at my new internship.  Woke up at around 6:30am and got ready. Showered, shaved, you know, did my thing. Put on my shirt, tie, pants, and jacket. Felt pretty good about how I looked. My shirt was definitely a little big on me but it worked well and my overall look was professional and still fashionable.  

 I didnt want to go with a normal black suit, white shirt and some regular old tie. I felt grey was something I was comfortable with, and a suit color that would be able to match a variety of different types of colors that I could make ME. And just as I thought, everyone was in BLACK! It was even mentioned in the speeches that in SF you wear black, everywhere else there is a lot more color. Boy was I glad not to be in black. Not only did it make me stand out from the crowd (not that being 1 of 4 of the male interns doesnt make you stand out enough), but it made me feel good to hear that I may have taken a step outside of this city’s comfort zone and still felt comfortable and strong in what I was wearing. And I did get a lot of looks, hopefully more good than bad.

For my shirt, my first choice was this white textured shirt with black stripes that gave my suit more depth. I used a dark colored tie with more pronounced stripes to help give my whole outfit a more pronounced pop to it (especially when I took my jacket off). My tie was a little off but I definitely fixed it later in the day…smh.

I also contemplated a pocket square white or maybe white with a nice red edge, but I just couldnt fold it nice enough where I felt comfortable wearing it. So I passed…

Ended up leaving for San Francisco at around 7:30am and took 280…BAD IDEA. I needed to at least be at the Employee Entrance at 9:00am, meet and greet started at 8:30 and I got there at exactly 8:55. I was so mad that it took us over an hour to get thru traffic.  Sadly there was a flipped car and major collisions in front of us and hope everyone was ok, but why today?? I stressed a little but we got there. 

Anyways, I get there and basically become overwhelmed with the sea of women.  With this internship, I knew going in it was going to be mainly females, but to see the ratio!!! There were about 4 other male interns within a group of 120+ people…that was something else. Most were either from FIDM, Arizona, San Diego or other random schools.  Sadly I was the only from Hawaii and it was talked about a couple times.  Glad I got to kind of stand out from the crowd, but everyone probably thought I was some crazy surfer kid…not me

Met my HR manager and everyone associated within the region for talent management. Sadly I didnt get to meet my mentor manager but I am very excited to meet him tomorrow.  Sat for a few minutes getting to know everyone at our table, which was set up for our store’s HR Manager and also the other interns for the different departments.  After that one of the head HR Regional Managers who came to our class, started us off and gave us a great and inspiring speech to start us off. Throughout the whole day, we heard from Regional Managers, Store Managers, Department Managers, HR Managers, Past Interns, and much more.  Everything from their favorite parts of their jobs, their paths they took to get to where they are at and much more. It only made me want to try and do what they do, but better ;) I thought we would get to do a walk through of The Palace, but I can understand why.  We named our store’s intern team, Stanford Style.

They gave us a book to read and a quote for us to find in the book.  Not only does this make us read the book, but I think its a great way for them to instill the company culture early.  We also have a binder filled with our “classroom” activities and other modules that we will have to complete over the 10 weeks. It also gave us our busy schedule for the next 10 weeks. I am very excited and after looking through the binder and book, it keeps reminding me how much I needed to be in this type of atmosphere and really take a step outside my “comfort” zone. I am ready, prepared and excited to fail and succeed.  Hopefully more of the latter.

They served sandwiches and salad for lunch and then towards the end gave us some Jamba Juice! That was really good during one of the past intern panels we had. I didnt eat much, bites of salad and half of half of a sandwich(? hope that makes sense). Really hungry but too nervous, anxious, excited and too overly aware to eat. I was taking in everything, not thinking about my stomach.  

One crazy thing today was that thru the course of the day and as people gave their speeches, I was announced a couple times because of my affiliation with UH Manoa and Hawaii.  The Regional HR Manager or Talent Manager came to our class and actually remembered me from MKT341. It felt really good but also kinda put weight on my shoulders to really represent UH Manoa and everyone who has helped me get to this point.  I want to thank everyone and will be sending out emails to those from UH Manoa that really gave me this opportunity.  I am so grateful for everything!

One thing that I can take away from today was that the customer is the number one priority for our company. It seems as if they tried to drill that into our head that we as interns, sales, and support all must value the customer.  From the very beginning to the end it seems as if thats what drives their business to become better than just making money for the CEO or owners.  The upside down pyramid is great for this company, and I really like the idea.

There was also this million dollar seller position mentioned, which I want or would like to know how to become one, totally blew my mind.  These people sell over 1 million dollars. And now they have a multi million dollar sellers club!!! That is my goal as a member in sales, but you know in the future its all about entrepreneurship and making sure I am comfortable with what I do. When I heard the speeches in MKT341 and how they would talk about managing your own store felt like you owned it, thats what I would love to feel like. I may not need to start my own thing right away or maybe at all. I think to be able to feel a part of the support of my team and a leading role in the development of the company I could definitely succeed. I have some great friends right now and a lot of ideas. Things are slowly coming together and hopefully everything will work out and I can choose the right situations to be in.

Whether my path is with this company (which I really think it could be) or somewhere else, I know this is one step I needed to take to better myself.  I think this is a huge step for me in the right direction to what I have dreamt about for years.  Listening to everyones story made me feel like this may be a place I can really find my future or at least take a glimpse into what drives me as a professional. 

Hopefully more pics come as I go. Ill have to ask but ill make sure to keep taking some of what I wear. Its nice to document it. Hope you like this, sorry if you dont. Its me so take it for what its worth.