Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Internship at Nicole Miller: What I Learned, Loved, and What's Next

Back in August, I announced that I had landed my third internship, and my first internship in Public Relations, at Nicole Miller. [Read: New Job, New Internship, New Goals]. I talked about how excited I was to explore a whole new aspect of the fashion industry, and how I was the youngest intern [again].

Nicole Miller is one of my favorite designers!
This was back in August, after I had only been interning for a few weeks. Now, in mid-December, its been over four months, and I've picked up a few things along the way. Of course, it's only fair of me to share my experiences, so here we go!

Throughout this past semester, I've learned that:
  1. People in fashion are tall. And by this, I'm not referring solely to the models. In the PR department, two of my direct supervisors, as well as Nicole Miller herself, are easily six feet tall in heels. At 5'1" and in an intern position, its extremely easy to feel small [literally and metaphorically] in the office, let alone in the industry. So, instead wearing my Tory Burch flats, I opted for my new Nicole Miller platforms [more about those later!] one day a few weeks ago. And, although I was only 5'5" [at the most], I felt a lot more confident with the extra height. If you are experiencing the same problem, but have trouble walking in heels, try out a pair of wedges or platforms instead!
  2. It's always important to carry around an extra pair of shoes. Although a few extra inches may make you feel more confident, keep in mind that fashion interns do a lot of running in and out of the office, up and down subway steps, and around the city in general. [Or at least I did.] So, if you do choose 'grow' a few inches before arriving at the office tomorrow, make sure to bring an extra pair of comfortable [and portable] flats in your bag! I honestly cannot remember the last time I left my apartment without a pair of ballet flats in my purse.
  3. There is a reason why everyone in the industry is so thin. After an entire semester of working in a busy PR firm, I've learned the hard way why everyone in fashion is so skinny. And, it's not because we're all bulimic [as I previously believed], but because we literally do not have time to eat! Luckily, we have an in-house chef at Nicole Miller, so that definitely helps. But, on the few unfortunate days when the prepared meals contain meat [I'm a vegetarian], I have a lot of trouble finding time to go out and find lunch elsewhere. And, that's not a reflection on Nicole Miller at all-- it's just the industry as whole.
  4. Discount lines are cool. Earlier this year, I very reluctantly identified myself as a brand-whore. Now, six months later, I've grown to love designer brands and take pride in flaunting them [once again], without the constant fear of being perceived as shallow [which, by this point, I'm sure we're all very aware that I am!]. So, imagine my surprise when I found that not only does Nicole Miller have a discount line at JCPenny, but that everyone  in the office is obsessed with it! And, even more shocking, the collection is actually extremely adorable. So adorable, in fact, that I ventured into JCPenny for the first time (!) in my life last month in search of the Nicole by Nicole Miller 'Alexandria' pumps after I saw my boss, her boss, and Nicole Miller herself rocking the booties. The crazy thing is that I get more complements on shoes from a discount line than I ever got on my Tory Burch or Michael Kors pairs. I guess the lesson here is that style if far more important than prices or brand names.
  5. The industry is completely connected. I've heard it a thousand times by now, but I never understood just how true it was until I began interning at Nicole Miller. As you may or may not know, Public Relations offices are responsible for promoting the brand and 'getting the name out there', which means constant communication with stylists, editors, and photographers ho request specific pieces from the line. I finished my summer internship at Life & Style Weekly at the end of August, and I was asked to begin my fall internship at Nicole Miller early, at the beginning of August. So, for that one month, I was at Life & Style on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Nicole Miller on Tuesdays and Fridays. There were days when I would pack up Nicole Miller samples to send to Life & Style, then unpack them at the magazine the next day, send them back to Nicole Miller the following day [after the photoshoot], and check them back into the system at Nicole Miller at the end of the week. Whew.
  6. It's never too late to go back. As I mentioned above, I am the youngest intern at Nicole Miller, as I was at Life & Style, and as I was at JoonBug. And, even though I am indescribably proud of this fact, I'd like to point out that it's really never too late to go back. I've been lucky enough to realize my goals early on in my academic career, albeit much earlier than most students. Throughout my last three internships, I've noticed something a bit strange: Many of my fellow interns have already graduated from college! And, even more, many of them hadn't studied fashion, but instead a completely unrelated subject. After graduation, a few of them realized that they didn't ant to pursue a career in their field of study, so they went on to get experience in an industry that interested them: Fashion! Pretty inspirational, right?
    My experience as a whole has been great, but there are a few things I especially loved:
    My holiday gift: Vibrant Cloud Dress!
    1. The awesome alternative to sample sales. Rather than sell the discounted [but still extremely stylish!] pieces from last season's line to just anyone, they are for sale in a massive closet exclusive to employees, including interns. In my opinion, its an excellent way to encourage employees to wear the company's designs.
    2. The Starbucks on the first floor. It shouldn't come as any surprise, but I am completely addicted to caffeine. That's what 8 months of Starbucks will do to you! So, I was beyond thrilled when I realized that there is a Starbucks in the building. Now, every time I leave the office on an errand, I make sure to pick up a Grande Vanilla Pike on my out. It's an extremely convenient ay to stay energized throughout the day!
    3. How everything is in-house. As opposed to interning at a company that as strictly PR, I chose to intern at one that was in-house. This way, rather than focusing on 8+ different brands, I could instead become a semi-expert on just one specific label. At Nicole Miller, PR isn't the only aspect of the business that is in-house. So is the sales team, the bridal team, and the design team. I can't count the number of times I've seen Nicole Miller herself around the office!
    4. The wonderful PR team. Before you say anything, let me assure you that I'm not including this point to get on anyone's good side. I've heard horror stories about crazy bosses, tasks, and internships in general, but one thing I've particularly loved about my experience here is that they treat all of the interns so nicely! Last week, I was invited to the holiday party, and my boss gave me a dress [that I was completely obsessed with since AUGUST] as a holiday gift. How Sweet!
    It's been about four and a half months since I began my internship at Nicole Miller, and even though my semester has already ended, I've decided to stick around until the end of my winter break in late-January. My internship here has been an amazing experience, but I don't think I want to pursue Public Relations as a career path. It's an extremely interesting field, but at the same time, I'm much more interested in the end result of our efforts, which brings me to my next point...

    So far, I'm LOVING Elle!
    After weeks of sprinting to Conde Nast, Hearst, and the Time and Life Building between class, Nicole Miller, and Clinique multiple times a week for interviews, I'm beyond trilled to announce that I've finally found the perfect internship for next semester! This spring, I will be interning at none other than ELLE MAGAZINE!

    Actually, I've decided to begin my internship early. Last week was actually my first week, and, no surprise, I'm the youngest intern. But, I'm starting to believe that age really is just a number. After all, I got this internship based on what's on my resume, not my birth certificate!


      1. Congrats on Elle magazine Mal!!! You deserve it babe!!

      2. WOW, what a wonderful post Mallory! I loved reading your experience, and just like you... I happen to be 5'1, hehe! I will definitely take up on your advice in the future... nothing like a great pair of wedges will do :) So glad to hear the people at the Nicole Miller PR team are sweet, I've always had that little nagging fear that bosses or other co-workers in the fashion industry would be very strict! And congratulations on the ELLE Magazine internship! =D You will do great! :) Hopefully in a couple of years when I am also trying to snag an internship in the fashion industry, I will have a lovely experience just like you! :)


      3. Sounds like a wonderful experience!! Good luck @ Elle in Spring!

        Mundo de Alicia ❤

      4. Congrats on that... Elle is major & you deserve it


      5. you are so inspirational! my dream is to move to new york one day even if it's only for a little while
        sounds like a great experience! keep up the good work and keep us updated
        goodluck sweety :) xx

      6. Omg.. I can't even explain how jealous I feel right now! In a good way however lol you are so lucky to have done 3 internships already! I've decided this summer that I want to start looking for interships and experience in fashion/PR but just a quick question, how did you get these positions? Is it really about who you know? I have literally no experience/connections so don't think I'm going to get very far with my hunt :( If you have any advice then please post back on my blog (as I probably won't check back on this post) and I would love to hear how you did it! Congrats on the Elle internship too, you are doing so well xxx

      7. Awww. You're so lucky to get those awesome internships! Also, congratulations and goodluck at Elle in spring! :)

      8. great post! You're so blessed to have gotten that job:) I definitely wish you luck in everything that you do! I can tell that you'll go far. btw thanks for you advice on how to ease my way into lace. I'm definitely going to take your advice ♥

      9. awesome post! I'm studying fashion here in Toronto..there's hardly any interesting fashion internships offered here :(


      10. I've fallen in love with that dress, lovely!

      11. This inspired me soo much that I made my own when I wasn't going to. Thank you so much! Saw you on IMF.

      12. What a fabulous experience! I am 25, but still dream of being able to work for a fashion magazine or high fashion designer. I am envious of you! xo


      Thank you for visiting Mallory in New York!

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