Right after the end of first year and after a month long lazy vacation in the US, I still had a month left in my hometown, Chennai. Knowing that I would tire of reading books or just sleeping the whole day at home, I decided to do an internship at a start-up (even if only for a few weeks), where I knew I would learn a lot and also be constantly given work, no matter how small.
So, I ended up Googling 10 best start-ups in Chennai, hoping there would be at least one design start-up among them (since I’m pursuing a design career). Thankfully, Arture turned up, this vegan accessory brand and also, as I remembered then, the birth company of my NIFT coaching teacher last summer, Shivani. I asked around and contacted her and although Arture generally doesn’t take interns, she gave it a go (thank goodness, or my summer would have been a MAJOR drag).
For just about three weeks, I interned at Arture and here are 6 things that I learned from doing so:
Whether you’re starting up a retail store or an e-commerce site, whether you have a start-up that sells wedding cards or vegan accessories, it’s hard. Managing a company single-handedly or with a partner, there are so many obstacles you face right from the manufacturing to maintaining the site or from the marketing aspect to selling all your value points or from putting all your savings in to calculating your profits. As hard as it all is, I saw Arture dealing with everything like a BOSS …
If you want to get the best out of everything, you have to do a whole load of research. Likewise, there was no loophole in Arture’s definition of the best. Every minute detail is wholly researched before acting on it (stressing on the ‘every minute’). Right from research for the best raw material, the best manufacturers, for the most functional design to sustainability and marketing to the right people, I learned to leave no smooth rock unturned.
When you’re starting any project or venture, don’t step into it without having a clear idea of what you’re aiming for. Arture (as far as I saw), had three hardcore values – to always deliver quality goods, to give their customers amazing service and to believe in what they were selling – sustainable fashion. I realize that even if you do have a thousand brilliant (and a few not-so-brilliant) ideas coursing through your mind, it’s good to focus on one at a time and build up slowly, instead of throwing it all in together.
What I thought I was going to do and what I ended up doing turned out to be two very different things. When I first came in, I wasn’t sure of the details of my internship, but in my head, I had labelled it as a design internship. I soon realized that having completed just one year in a design course, my design skills wouldn’t be very valuable. I ended up doing other small tasks like managing social media accounts, SEO, content writing, etc. While these kept me fairly busy, I learnt well on the side about the many small things you’ve got to do while running a start-up to ensure your company’s out there. Since almost every designer’s dream (and surely mine too) is to start their own brand in the future, these small things I learnt will truly help me.