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12-06-2012
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agneslo's Avatar
 
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Help! please?
Hi there,

I got 2 interviews for 2 different internship position at 2 equally prestigious company. They are temporary PR helper (6month) at Ferragamo HK office and retail coordinator (internship. unknown duration) at Lanvin Asia/Pacific office.

I'm listing all the pros and cons here so hopefully you guys can give me some advice.

Ferragamo post:
Pros:
- i worked in their Asia/Pacific marketing team before, so i know all their PR stuff on a macro scale. But i know their company's stuff pretty well. (stand high chance)
- a stepping stone for me to get into the fashion PR field (i know it takes people years to become a in-house PR person)
- they *might* turn this into a permanent position later if budget is available
- can learn basic details about what fashion PR does
- they have more stores than Lanvin in Asia/Pacific region. (so more exposure?)

Cons:
- the salary level is low. (just graduated from university, it's definitely not upto a normal university graduate salary standard)
- they need people ASAP. (that might kill other choices i have?)
- distant work location (travelling time: 60mins+; which is considered as very long here in HK)

Lanvin post:
Pros:
- can get some hands on experience on merchandising activities
- get to learn about retail operation sides of fashion
- also a stepping stone for me to get into the merchandising field (and it's in their Asia/Pacific office, their regional headquator, so it could a career fast-track)
- I love Lanvin better.

Cons:
- as an university graduate, i want to get a real job instead of bearing the title of 'intern' again.
- low salary level
- does starting out in the Regional office mean i don't get to know much small details of the job???? harm my future career development?

I know i'm comparing oranges and apples here. (PR VS merchandising) and i know they are both equally competitive and prestigious posts. Can anyone help give me some advice?

like qualities required for the field? what should i expect for my future career path if i take either position? (i did psychology in university. haha)

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Last edited by agneslo; 12-06-2012 at 11:52 PM.
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13-06-2012
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PR and Merchandising are worlds apart from each other. I think it all depends on your career goals, as to which is better for you. You told us all about the internships, but didn't say anything about your goals or your skills.

PR is all about getting the word out to the media ... so it includes a log of writing, dealing with the press, managing events and sometimes managing your clients issues, when they have unfavorable press. It's a fast paced environment and good PR people can multi task and put out fires. It's a very 'visable" career ... people in the biz will know you, if you do it right (or, sadly, if you do it wrong).

Merchandising is about numbers regarding retail sales, mostly. It's about buying the right stuff, in the right amounts so that it actually sells, without overstocking. It sometimes includes visual displays in the stores ... a tiny part of merchandising. It requires someone who likes statistics, can determine trends from those statistics, can make decisions about ordering inventory and who's goal is to make the retailer more profitable. It's a back office job ... stressfull, but not nearly as fast paced. It's not a "visable" job ... you work behind the scenes. Even the store managers probably won't know who you are.

Internships help you make contacts to bolster your chances in being hired in that industry. So in which industry do you want to make those contacts? Public Relations ... or Retail?

P.S. Your major in Psychology is problaby better suited to PR. You have to be able to read people, make friends and contacts in the media, and write things that are interesting enough to get published and to interest readers about your clients and their products.

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Last edited by BetteT; 13-06-2012 at 12:48 PM.
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15-06-2012
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Thank you very much BetteT. it's very very useful. I have taken up the PR post already.

I must say i was kind of lost in the beginning, not knowing what direction to go to. I do enjoy going out talking to people, i always have lots of energy inside me and i'm always the one among my friends who initiate gatherings and map out all the details.

And i'm certainly not gd at numbers and statistics. (so no merchandising for me)

thank you again for ur help!!! Will report details of my work here later!

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15-06-2012
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^ congrats! I start my internship on monday,i'm sooo excited!

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15-06-2012
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just came here to give some feedback on some work placement i did recently:

i am so disheartened at the moment. i don't know what exactly it is that i want to do so i am just trying a bunch of different things. i worked 2 days with a quite good stylist here (works freelance but contributes for some great independent fashion mags here) and whilst i didn't think i wanted to be a stylist i thought it would be a good experience.

well... i HATED it. the first day we were sourcing/doing pick ups. i actually came home and cried because i was SO BORED. its not that i think styling is boring or easy, but i felt that she did not need me and i did a 14 hour day and felt like i did about 2 hours of work. i just wanted to go home or to my actual job the whole time because i felt so useless. i did all her calls to confirm appointments first thing in the morning and followed up emails and info on garments being sent from interstate. she was suprised i did it so quickly and i made my own notes/schedule of things that needed followed up at other times throughout the day and didn't need her to tell me. i took notes at all the places we went to on the number of garments etc we had borrowed, and getting their credit details.

on the second day we were shooting and it was slightly better because even though i was just taping and packing away etc. i had something to do all the time. the photographer commented on how organised i was compared to most assistants which i took as a compliment but perhaps part of the reason i felt like i wasn't needed/didn't have enough to do.

i think i am used to working in a more structured, faster paced environment. so on the upside at least i recognised that part of myself.

also i spent over $100 out of my own pocket on the second day for parking etc at the locations because she decided to bring her friend/'assistant' (he did nothing all day but gush over the clothing which the photographer also commented on) along and there was no space for me in the car from the studio to locations.

for doing 2x 14 hour days and come out so out of pocket is just not worth it to me. if it was my dream job or something i was passionate about i would suck it up and do it, but i decided that it wasn't for me to make it an ongoing internship. it sounds like i have a problem putting in the hard yards but i don't. i am a manager in my current job and i didn't get there without starting at the bottom and working my butt off. i am so frustrated with myself at the moment for not knowing what i want to do :-(


Last edited by franki; 15-06-2012 at 10:48 PM.
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20-06-2012
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^ that really sucks, was this for school credit? i don't know how some places get away with keeping interns for extended hours; both my school and my internship are pretty strict with making sure i'm working the hours i'm supposed to be working.

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Last edited by fashionmuse; 20-06-2012 at 10:21 PM.
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21-06-2012
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Probably different labor laws for different countries. Plus ... if it's not done for credit nor for pay ... probably the dept. of labor, or whoever oversees these things, doesn't even know that the "intern" is even working there. So they can get away with murder and some companies take advantage of this. The don't observe labor laws and work the interns for more than 8 hours a day, without sufficient breaks. Small companies are notorious for this .... free help, no college credit .... an even exchange of "experience" for no cost to the company ... how can they loose? (Only the intern looses.) But ... all internships are pretty much just grunt work (even those that are limited in hours to whatever the labor laws state) ... don't expect to get trained to do any of the real work of the business. If you get really lucky and work really hard and they know you learn very quickly, sometimes they will let you get more involved ... once in a rare while.

Now, working for a freelance stylist is a whole other ball game. Freelancers are not protected by labor laws, in most cases. Also, in many cases, the stylist is not being paid either. When they "test" ... no one gets paid ... it's for their portfolios. All but the largest magazines don't pay ... and if they do it's barely enough for the stylist to cover her expenses. If it was for a regular client, some sort of commercial shoot, then unless the stylist contracted with them to be able to hire a regular assistant, there's no pay for interns .... so anyone who interns for a stylist, a hair/makeup artist or a photographer needs to understand that they will be expected to be there for the duration of the shoot no matter how long it takes .... and 14 hours is very common.

However .... the stylist should reimburse you for anything you spent on her behalf, including gas, if you were running errands for them and parking, if you were required to show up on location for a shoot. Next time, I would ask about that .... someone would probably be receptive to covering those expenses, but you'd probably have to give them an invoice.





For typical internships, you are there to learn about the business, but that's pretty much up to you as to how much you can observe and use ... they won't "train" you, in most cases. It's called starting from the bottom .... which you would be doing if you were a new hire, anyway. So that's the first thing you learn from an internship ... how to work your way up from the bottom.

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Last edited by BetteT; 21-06-2012 at 05:21 PM.
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21-06-2012
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oh ok, i can see how non credit internships can get away with having interns work 14+ hour days.
i only finished my first week but so far i've been pretty involved. even i feel a bit shocked that i haven't done coffee runs yet

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21-06-2012
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Note: I just edited my post, above .... new info added about interning for a stylist.

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21-06-2012
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^ bette thanks for your response. just wanted to be clear that i know 14+ hrs isn't uncommon, i have worked on many shoots before (for different reasons). my frustration was more so that in those hours i was bored because i wasn't busy enough (maybe this is a good thing to others but i hate it).

and i understand working from the bottom. i have done it before. i don't expect to be spoon fed but i also think a good boss can be super busy and still provide some guidance. i started at the bottom of my job and am now one of 6 managers to 150+ people. i am busy all the time but i never let a junior team member work with no feedback or guidance. i don't expect a lot, a one sentence instruction is fine. i also don't expect to be doing anything more than menial labour, but i hope to have enough small tasks to warrant me being there haha.

but she was really thankful at the end of the day about how well i did and how she had never gotten out of a shoot so quick because i had catalogued, credited and packed everything etc so maybe it was just me being paranoid that i wasn't doing enough lol.

labour laws in australia are, well... questionable. there is no real way to track interns working for freelance/self-employed people. you can intern for any reason, doesn't have to be school credit. interns vary from 1 day a week to full time. companies usually always follow laws regarding breaks and reimbursement though which is good!


Last edited by franki; 21-06-2012 at 09:34 PM.
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22-06-2012
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Well ... not wanting to be bored is a good thing, in my opinion. I've had many an assistant who thought they were there to sit around and watch... not to work. So I applaud your attitude and your work ethic.

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24-06-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BetteT View Post
Well ... not wanting to be bored is a good thing, in my opinion. I've had many an assistant who thought they were there to sit around and watch... not to work. So I applaud your attitude and your work ethic.

haha thanks! the day goes so much faster when you have lots to do!

all round it was a good experience because it helped me to clarify a few things about the type of work environment/structure that i like. so for that reason i do recommend people interning as much as possible when they are in doubt.

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24-06-2012
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Hi everyone! i'm here to report my first week as a PR intern.

It was pretty hectic and the pace was fast. I was busy all the time.

Major duties covered:
- organizing the samples in & out. (not only samples in the show room, but also merchandise from the shop for shooting)
- PR clippings (making a report about the coverage of the brand)
- all the invoices regarding the dept

the list doesn't seem a lot to do, but merely taking care of the samples took me a lot of time already. especially there were a few last-minute samples requests, so i spent some time communicating with the stylists and editors, understanding what and when they would want those samples, making sure what they wanted were available and would also be available for other shootings. I even made calls to local stores to borrow some merchandise for the shootings.

everything was pretty hands-on. my supervisor was busy with other tasks, and considering the senior PR assistant was out of town, so i was pretty much on my own all the time and had to pick up things very fast.

there were also lots of details to take care of. (was totally clueless abt most of them), so one has to be very detail-minded and being systematic.

But i do enjoy the energy going on!

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25-06-2012
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^ that sounds great! i'm jealous at how busy you are actually

i started my internship at the worst time for the company because they are insanely busy this time of year. so i've only been briefly trained in each area (inventory, customer service etc.) but not trained enough to do things completely on my own. most of the time i'm just waiting for the next task and i feel bad because they are always telling me how sorry they are that i don't have much to do. so i'm just paying close attention to how they do things so that training won't be as long

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29-08-2012
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i'm looking for website on the internet to find internship abroad, i know free fashion internship and fahionjobs but are there more website ?

thanks

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