My first corporate internship was at a home furnishings company called Ellery Homestyles. Now, I was not really interested in home furnishings, but the company listed the internship as a "product development internship," which I thought was something that I would like.
So I decided to accept the internship even though I wasn’t one hundred percent thrilled with working in the home furnishings industry. However, I had a great experience, and left with a lot of things I didn’t know before.
I learned the entire process that goes into making pillows, and comforters, and bed sheets. From the design and the costing, to the CAD drawings, and what pre-production vs. production samples were.
I learned how to use their database system, check in samples, measure pieces to make sure they were correct, and helped to organize and clean the bedding closet. These are skills that I can transfer to any job I get in the future.
Even though I didn’t particularly like product development, the one thing that made it great was the people I was working with. I mostly worked with the bedding department, so that meant the designers and the product development manager for that team.
They were all so friendly, helpful, and joked around with me, which definitely made me feel more comfortable. The best thing was that I was never afraid to ask questions. If I didn’t know something it was okay, and I could go to any of them for help.
My supervisor, who is the product development manager, was the best supervisor I could have asked for. She was kind and extremely helpful. I could tell she actually wanted me to learn and grow because she would always show me how to do tasks and tell me why the company does this and check in on me. She was definitely the best part of my experience.
The biggest thing I took away from my internship was that I knew I was not interested in product development. It's just not something for me, but I am very happy that I accepted the internship to find out if I liked it or not.
I may have chosen a product development job right out of college, and I probably wouldn't have liked it. I also think that's the biggest lesson I learned. That it’s okay if you aren’t too fond of your internship. It’s all a learning experience to get you to somewhere better.