In these past weeks, Shop Repurpose hosted a summer staff team in collaboration with NYC DYCD. The Shop Repurpose team was eager to help with our mission to support women and families in need. From marketing to upcycling, our teams build off each other’s work to deliver the best results. As the end of this internship approaches, we want to share the team’s thoughts and hear what they have to say about working this summer at Shop Repurpose.
Our marketing team is made up of people with many talents. Everyone has had the opportunity to work on different projects and tasks that they are interested in and put their skills to use. The manager would discuss what needed to be done, and team members would express interest in working on projects. For example, one of our staff would be on captions one day and help the creative lead for videos the next. Breaking up the day between writing captions and working with the products firsthand allowed them to pick up experience in multiple positions. This flexibility promoted communication and feedback from different viewpoints for various projects and created a more robust team bond. Annie Wang loved the balance of different projects between painting on upcycled products and redesigning the Shop Repurpose logo. “I feel like the balance is great. I don’t think the workload is overbearing. It is just right. I can work on painting half the time and graphics the other. Therefore I never get bored doing one thing.”
Our summer photographer, Leslie Alvarado, has managed to support multiple teams with her commitment to improving her camera skills. She took up photography as a creative outlet working with black and white film in high school and took a minor in photography in college. Leslie saw an opportunity to continue working on it over the summer with Shop Repurpose and has learned to apply her skills to take product shots, flat lays, and creative content to market Shop Repurpose Wardrobe. A lot of work goes into creating a good photo shoot. “There would be up to two other people helping to pick out clothes and changing the mannequin as I took all the shots.” She expresses that although this kind of photography is out of her comfort zone, she was glad to learn the skills for it.
The Repurposed by Repurpose team works together to create new artistic clothing by upcycling damaged pre-loved luxury pieces. The team supervisor, Wiola Dziekonska, was amazed and excited to see a position focusing on upcycling. She has loved working with the team and teaching the others multiple routes to complete a piece, making the process more fun and easy. Over the last few weeks, they were able to turn J Brand jeans into styled reversible bucket hats. Each piece will have different needs to be completed. The corsets could be hand-stitched or stitched by a machine which changes how the rest of the piece is assembled and having to create precise patterns to ensure the bucket hats are not too big or tight. However, sewing, as Maialen Richards described, is a relaxing activity. She said, “Seam ripping and sewing are therapeutic because there is only one objective.” One of our goals as a team was to focus on good mental health and not have work wear us down. Therefore being able to listen to podcasts like the upcycling team does while working helps destress the work environment. Maialen enjoyed working on her hobby and upcycling products that so many people could see. Though our upcycling team had more things planned out initially, the wait on materials from donations and then having to cut them out was a significant time sink. Even though the team was small, they built off each other’s ideas and worked together to solve any problems that might come up. As our upcycling supervisor Wiola says, “If there’s an obstacle, you can always work together to find a way past it.”
Operations run our third-party sites, manage our donation intake, and prepare clothes for shipping. Our team enjoys taking in the inventory of donated clothes to see the many beautiful brands making a social impact. Anna Bush enjoyed working with the intake of donations and e-commerce and had worked only a couple weeks before the group from ladders for leaders came into work. “I was excited to see and get new team members.” This summer was the first time Shop Repurpose had such a large cohort of interns come into the building at once. Teaching everyone the tedious parts of operations was not feasible with the bit of time we had together. However, Anna acted as a secondary lead with her experience and training before meeting her team, ensuring the team did everything correctly and was consistently available to help her team members.
The Summer 2022 Shop Repurpose Cohort put in tremendous effort by being able to collaborate and rely on each other's feedback. The team has been very creative in their marketing tags along with eye-catching graphics and photos, providing monumental help with our recent flash sale. However, the most impressive feat was everyone’s adaptability to fit themselves in different roles to create more awareness for Shop Repurpose’s mission. Simultaneously this summer fostered and created many opportunities to learn from and be mentored by industry professionals, peers, and experienced volunteers. It has been a wonderful experience to meet so many talented people and also given a chance to work on many projects with them.