Our VIM Directors snag amazing internships, and they want to share their experiences and tips with you! Meet Katie McCoy–our Women’s Fashion Director. Here are some of her tips and suggestions from her experience interning in New York.
Name: Katie McCoy
Major/Minor: Journalism/Public Relations
VIM Position: Women’s Fashion Director
Where You Interned: The Row
Internship Title: PR Intern
Location of Internship: New York City
What was a day at your internship like?
For beginners, our day consisted around sending out samples of clothes to publications like Vogue, Net-A-Porter, W Mag, Elle, etc. and celebrities. We would make sure to get the samples back after the photo shoot.
Every day was different but in theory, everything was done the same. The interns would always start with sending off the daily WWD newsletter to everyone in the office. We then would focus on press credits, anything The Row was featured in to keep for our reference. Then we would pay attention to the email requests from stylists of celebrities like Rihanna, Gigi Hadid, Emma Stone and different publications –domestic and international. They would send us requests for clothes to borrow, requesting certain looks from our lookbooks or free range picks. For example, “May we request white button downs and black trousers?” is what a request for a certain look is like. The interns would have the ability to choose from our sample closet what we thought was best for the photo shoot theme.
We use this program called FashionGPS which was a way we could keep track of our clothing samples. This was our way to see when clothes were supposed to come back and where they are. We dealt with a lot of daily returns, making sure they were returned in perfect condition. If they weren’t, we were responsible for sending them off to the dry cleaners.
If you interned out of state, how were you able to make yourself feel comfortable and at home?
I interned in New York City! I was super nervous and intimidated at first. I stayed in a building that was full of people my age and people interning so it was definitely easy to make friends. I also was friends with some of the girls I interned with. The more friends I made, the more plans I made to explore the city and the more fun I had throughout the summer.
What is the most important thing that you learned from your internship?
I really learned how to multitask. There are so many times when you’re working on multiple projects at once. The fashion industry is definitely super-fast paced, and I learned how to deal with the speed and understand the personality of the fashion world. It’s VERY stressful and there would be days where I have no idea how I made it through the day, but I’m glad I did!
The biggest thing I took away was learning behind-the-scenes of the fashion world. I have always been in love with the idea of working in fashion and having the opportunity was definitely a learning experience.
Oh, and I learned how to keep my cool around celebrities. Working close with Mary Kate and Ashley sometimes is my childhood dream but I had to keep a calm persona.
What is one thing that you would change about your internship if you could?
If I could change anything, I think I would change how I prepared beforehand. Our co-EIC Julia Le worked at The Row the previous summer, and she helped me prepare A LOT! (THANK YOU JULIA, I’m so grateful for you!!!) But, I think I should have spent more time thinking to myself how to deal with the stress.
I also should have prepared a lot beforehand with my financial stability. This was an unpaid internship. Living in New York City on an unpaid internship was DEFINITELY really hard.
What was your favorite part about your internship?
My favorite part was DEFINITELY seeing things I styled on celebrities or magazines. Opening the September issue of Porter Magazine and seeing clothes that I sent off and seeing The Row featured in so many things was such a satisfying feeling. Knowing that I worked so hard for a certain purse to be featured in a magazine, or a certain celebrity to wear a special shoe is totally worth it.
I’m glad I had an amazing first step into the fashion world. This is something that a million girls would kill for, and I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity.
What was your least favorite part about your internship?
My least favorite part was the stress. The fashion PR world is WAY different than I thought. It’s very fast paced and requires a lot of speed and hard, smart work.
What advice do you have for people who want a similar internship?
Be initiative! If you take the effort to stand out, your boss will see that and you will stand out in the end. If you want to apply for this, don’t be afraid to TRY! I emailed The Row through their website on a whim and heard back shortly afterwards. Take initiative, do whatever you think will stand out because YOU WILL!
What tactics did you use while applying for your internship? (Follow up emails, making sure your social media profiles are good to go, etc.)
I applied through their email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I heard back a couple of days later, and had a short phone interview. Since the photo interview was so short, I was nervous that I didn’t stand out enough. I sent a follow-up email telling my soon-to-be boss how much I wanted this internship, how hard I would work and how much I love The Row. I received the offer the next day with the email starting with “Thank you for your sweet note!” I think my follow up email definitely helped.
What skills did you learn during your internship?
Multitasking, the voice of PR via email and how to work in fast paced environments.
What was the dress code for your internship?
You could wear whatever you wanted. A lot of people would just wear a button down and jeans and sneakers. However, I think the best way to stand out was to dress “on brand,” meaning dress how The Row looks. The Row produces simple, minimalistic and clean looking clothes –so nothing bright, vibrant or loud in color. I wore color to the office once and felt so out of place.
What outfit did you wear to your in-person interview (if you had one)?
My interview was over the phone, so I didn’t really have to worry about how I looked but rather how I sounded!
What was the application process like for your internship? (writing samples, write an essay, etc.)
I was intrigued about their internship. So when I emailed, I asked “what does your internship process consist of?” I also attached my resume and cover letter for reference JUST IN CASE. I didn’t expect to get an interview off of that email.
Do you believe that your experience in VIM helped you score your internship?
YES!! I don’t think I would have been able to have this internship if it wasn’t for my involvement with VIM. Especially knowing Julia Le, who also has VIM on her resume, helped SO MUCH!
Was it easy to meet other interns and coworkers at your internship?
Yes! For all the interns there, this was their first internship, too. Everyone was learning at the same pace so it was easy to connect with. We went out for happy hours after work certain days and would connect outside of work.
What tips do you have for creating relationships/bonds/friendships with the people you met at your internship?
Definitely don’t be afraid to ask for help! We all had different skill sets. Some of us were better at answering emails and some were better at pulling clothing samples. We all work for the same company and dividing and conquering a project helped get it done faster.
When did you start searching and applying for your internship?
I felt like I was very late in the game for this internship. I applied after spring break in March. But since I applied late, I say it is never too early to apply! There is no bad time. Apply when you can and as much as you can!
What advice do you have for getting rid of first day nerves?
I knew that I was going to be slow and make mistakes and I think that helped. I think just knowing that you will get through the day and if you make the effort to learn at least ONE thing every day, then you will be fine.
What are some resume and LinkedIn tips that you have for others?
I think it’s important to cater what experience you had in the past to the job you want to apply for. My experience with VIM can definitely help in so many directions, more than I can think of. Taking skills from babysitting, waitressing and catering to what I want definitely helped.
Do you have an extravagant moment that you experienced at your internship?
SO MANY! The one that stands out the most was when I was doing a drop off for a photo shoot for Margot Robbie, and I met her! It was at an apartment complex in the Lower East Side and as I was handing it off to her stylist, I saw her out of the corner of my eye–beautiful as ever! She said hi and I’m so proud of myself for not freezing up! I said hi and it was nothing but small talk but that was a high point that I will never forget.
Another time, Mary Kate complimented my shirt (this time I froze and almost forgot to say thank you!) But towards the end of the internship, the twins started recognizing me and they would make conversation with me on certain days. Sometimes Ashley would ask what I had for lunch or what I was doing this weekend. Nothing major but talking to the Olsen twins is AMAZING!!
What are your thoughts on sending thank you notes after your internship is done?
Thank you notes are A MUST! I think it definitely helps you stand out in the end. If you prove to your boss how grateful you are for the opportunity, she will remember how hard you worked and she will help you later in life. Definitely keeping in touch is important. You never know how much help or recommendations your boss can give you for your next job or internships.