I’d like to start by saying that my goal of blogging weekly was such an incredible failure. But this blog post is about why I didn’t blog – because I was in this city! We hear so much about New York, and when people ask me where I’ve been over the summer and I answer, they respond with a “Wow!!!” and are excited. At least for me, growing up in the suburbs of Portland and the tropical island of Penang, New York has always been a city I saw on TV shows and movies (mostly Gossip Girl, let’s be real), somewhere I never thought I would experience living in. Now, I can’t believe my summer here has come to an end; it has been a colorful experience to say the least. I can’t even begin to list the experiences I have had that simply wouldn’t be possible anywhere else, with New York being a fashion and tech hub, an intern flood during the summer and such a huge cultural melting pot. I’ve categorized my experiences into a few sections to organize my thoughts!
I guess I should start with the real reason I came to New York: to work. At vente-privee! In case you’re not familiar, vente-privee is a French company which pioneered the flash sales model back in 2001. While now a huge company in Europe with almost $2 Billion of annual revenue, they came to the US a little more than a year ago in the form of a joint venture with American Express.
The reason I decided to intern here is because it was a perfect intersection of fashion and tech in a start-up environment. I have learned SO much about the different aspects of an e-commerce business – email marketing and how that drives revenue, social media engagement, PR initiatives, and even the finances and logistics of it. Along with the other interns, I even organized a sample sale to liquidate some of the company’s inventory. It was also a unique opportunity to learn about what a joint venture is like, especially between two companies that don’t have a lot of overlap at all, and come from different parts of the world. It’s such an interesting mix of cultures in the business, and it’s been really interesting seeing that.
But apart from that, it was a great place to work. I’ve made some great friends and had so much fun! vp has a great office on the edge of SoHo, so I enjoyed walking through New York’s fashion center every day. The office is a huge, open, collaborative space that’s mostly white with pink accents (pink is vente-privee’s color), and we always have a stocked kitchen (loved it, obviously). It was also so amazing having samples from different brands coming in everyday, and photo shoots happening all the time. There was one photo shoot for a swimwear brand, and the photographer created a huge fake beach with sand and everything in the front of the office – super cool!
New York: Fashion/Retail Capital
Of course, it was amazing to be in the fashion capital of the country. Fashion lives in New York, and people have their own very individual tastes, and it’s apparent everywhere (I love it, obviously).
Another thing I noticed while shopping and exploring in New York was how much effort and detail is put into the storefronts of stores. I guess that in New York, all stores are essentially flagship, so that’s necessary. Some of my favorites were the All Saints in SoHo, which has a whole wall of vintage Singer sewing machines in the front. At the Jill Stuart SoHo store, a wall has been plastered with 3D flowers and butterflies. For a while this summer, The Tommy Hilfiger storefronts had a convertible car that had been decorated with seashells and immersed in a beach scene. I just found it so interesting how much work and thought had been put into luring the shopper into the store, and to project the brand’s presence outwards.
There are so many things about New York that so unique, and living in New York is an experience that definitely can’t be replicated. I was constantly astonished by how frequently I ran into people I know, or people who had mutual friends. It boggles my mind to think every time I was walking through Union Square (where I took the subway from), there was probably one person I knew within a two block radius of me; it’s unreal.
I’m also so happy that I explored different neighborhoods of New York. I love Williamsburg, because it reminds me a little bit of Portland. I can’t get enough of sitting on the Hudson and watching the Manhattan skyline. There was one night when my roommate and I watched the sunset while sitting on the rocks on the shore, and it was one of my favorite nights in Manhattan. We also found a consignment store there called Beacon’s closet which is certainly my favorite thrift store in the world (so far). I also had such a great time exploring food in New York (the list is too long to talk in depth about). A few of my favorites were Cuba (SoHo), Joe’s Pizza, Chloe’s Soft Serve (Union Square), Rudy’s (Nolita), Yakiniku West (East Village), Nyonya (Little Italy/Chinatown) and Chikalicious (East Village). There were more that I’m definitely forgetting!
All in all, an unforgettable summer. Thanks NYC!