Summer 2019 was an exciting season of change at Brush On Block®. With two new products available, we knew it would be busier than usual, and that many long-term tasks would probably be pushed to the bottom of our to-do lists. With that in mind, and due to a series of serendipitous events, we found ourselves with four amazing interns for the summer!
In previous years, we have had a summer intern to help us with our increased order volume (even though we remind people to wear sunscreen every day, it is still a fairly seasonal business) and to do organizational tasks to help us stay on our toes. But with four, the options seemed nearly limitless…we could get so much accomplished!
BRUSH ON BLOCK® founder Andrea Wetsel has always felt strongly about hiring interns, believing that the chance to participate in a small, woman-owned company gives young women a real view of what to expect in the working world, as well as to help define their goals for their education and beyond. We thought it would be interesting to see what the internship looked like from the intern side, so we talked to our four interns about their experiences over the summer.
Elie - incoming senior and creative writing major at Hamilton CollegeElie wanted to get some experience writing, but that was not journalistic style. “The marketing internship here seemed perfect, I would write for the blog and copy about the products as well as learn the workings of a small company and everything else that went in to making it run smoothly.” And Elie definitely got experience writing for the blog, you’ll be seeing her by-line on articles for the next several months! She also gained some experience in front of the camera in some videos, and worked on editing videos. Elie learned “How important it is to be detail oriented and a creative thinker, especially while working with a small company. I realized how important first impressions can be on customers, small things such as having all the product face the same direction in the box. Getting it right looks good, but getting it wrong looks really bad, and I learned to pay
attention to the little things.” And Elie enjoyed working for a small team of women. As she put it, “with a small team, every voice counts.”
Lexi – incoming senior, Public Relations and Advertising major at Chapman University
With her education background and a previous internship at a PR firm under her belt, Lexi came in with some very real goals. “My goals coming in to this internship included developing my social media skills in a professional setting, learning new marketing programs and software, and applying my public relations and advertising knowledge to real-world situations.” As Brush On Block has plenty of platforms and programs to learn, she set straight to work on them, gaining experience in Facebook Advertising, Privy, Shopify and Photoshop. The Facebook Ads, in particular, gave Lexi some experience in looking at things from a different perspective. “I see advertisements on social media every day and don’t put much thought into them. However, being on the business side of the advertisements gave me an inside point of view and it was really interesting to see how engagements with the advertisements works.”
Isabele – incoming sophomore at University of Puget Sound
Isabele brought a good deal of photography experience to Brush On Block, and we set out to take advantage of that with the goal of getting as many photos taken for the year as possible. Between creating flat-lays for social media, Isabele learned “how a small business functions and what the roles needed.”
Ana Orhanović – incoming junior and Marketing major at Portland State University
Ana told us, “My goals going into this internship were to get a better understanding of learning and applying my major of marketing to real life. Although I have taken many business classes, I never had the chance to use these skills I was taught in real life. Going into this internship I wanted to use these skills to better understand how a business works. Also, I wanted to have real work experience in my major so that I could find a job when I graduate.”
We really wanted our interns to get the feel for working in a small business, so their duties ranged from packing orders to creating ads and videos, and pretty much everything in between. From a brainstorming session to a Thanksgiving-themed potluck (to take photos for our Thanksgiving recipes post), our interns were involved in everything we did this summer, and for the most part, they seemed to enjoy it!
Ana said, “The most important thing I learned is that in order to run a business you need to have a plan. Going to weekly meetings and hearing what everyone has been doing during the week, and what questions they had, showed that there needs to be a level of organization no matter what business it is. In order to make progress, employees need to be willing to put in a lot of time and effort, so that a company can become successful. I learned that without organization, and everyone working hard with a specific goal in mind, there would be no room for growth. I had a better understanding of how competitive the market is, and how uniqueness and productivity is what improves the company. This was very interesting to see and allowed me to learn more about a business.”
For Isabele, the surprise was about Brush On Block the company, “how small it is, but also how big it is. It’s few people but has an enormous reach!" And she also learned more about sun protection, the big take-away being, "that I haven’t been wearing nearly enough of it."
Lexi appreciated the opportunity to gain some experience working on programs that were new to her, because it will give her a slight edge on her resume next year, but she also learned a lot about sun protection. “One of the most interesting facts I learned about sun protection is that SPF 50 only blocks 1% more of the sun’s rays than SPF 30. I always assumed SPF 50 was a lot higher of protection than 30! I also learned the difference between UVA and UVB rays.”
Elie summed up her experience, “I thought it was awesome working for an all-women team here at Brush On Block. Not often does one get that opportunity and I was thankful for it. I loved that, though we were interns, we were given more important jobs than running errands and making coffee. It was cool to see my work appear on the website and to know I was actually contributing in a meaningful way. I also loved how transparent Andrea, CEO and founder of Brush On Block was, how much she showed us the workings of the company, asked us questions, and listened to our opinions. I was surprised to feel more like an employee than an intern, which felt rewarding.”
Watch for content (videos, blog posts, photos and social media posts) created by our interns over the next few months. We think they did a great job!