Annie Davis spent her summer in New York City as the Beauty Merchandising Intern at Victoria Secret. Merchandising, as Davis put it, is the “middle man” between the creation of a product and selling it in stores.
Merchandisers are the final deciders in things such as how the packaging looks, how it is set up in stores, how the story of a product should be told and more. They want a clear idea on the customer’s journey with each product. Once the product is launched, merchandisers look at how a product is performing, what they could improve on, debate on running promotions to increase sales and so on.
Every day for Davis as a beauty merchandiser at Victoria Secret was different. She had multiple tasks at hand. The majority of her time was spent in meetings. These meetings consisted of the design team, creative team, merchandising and all other teams where they discussed products and next steps.
Outside of meetings, she was researching competing companies. Companies such as Ulta, Sephora or Lush, and how their products look, were displayed and a look at how their impulse sections were set up was displayed. Davis would create powerpoints of these comparisons and present them to her supervisor. One project of hers was on the ingredients used in different brands products. This specific project was presented to her supervisor who then took it to the CEO.
Through her time at Victoria Secret, Davis said she felt as if she got a degree in merchandising due to all the content she learned. They made her feel like a full-time associate, not an intern. She stated “You don’t know how much work goes into a product. A company can work on a product for months and right before it goes to launch, they will drop it.”
Since leaving New York, Davis said she’s more confident than ever in regards to finding a full-time position after college. This internship helped her realize she is in the career she wants to be in.
The main piece of advice she’d give to students looking for an internship, is to reach out. She stated “If you’re not being annoying, you’re not being recognized.” She was constantly in contact with human resources, so they knew who she was.
After graduating, Davis hopes to go back to New York and work full time for Victoria Secret. She gained experience in something she never studied and great connections along the way.