Rachel Varkey – Whitney Stern Jewelry Design

1457574_668547129832901_1229392716_n (1)When I started at UW, I had no idea what it meant to be a business professional. I just was very eager, potentially a little too eager in fact, constantly looking for internships and things to dabble in, especially in marketing and public relations. In winter of my freshmen year, I found a posting for an internship with a jewelry designer. She was looking for someone to manage her marketing and public relations, pitch to fashion magazines, and manage her brand. Iinterviewed with Whitney Stern, an amazingly talented, bright female entrepreneur, who wanted to change the world with her art, one piece of jewelry at a time.

 Working for Whitney, I was given every opportunity to try out any crazy marketing strategy in my head. From creating picture books to take to sales meetings, reaching out to magazines such as New York Times Style Section, Lucky, and other national publications, Whitney let me try anything and everything to help build her brand. When I first started working for Whitney, she was selling her jewelry at boutiques such as Tatters in Mercer Island. However, over the next 2 years of working with her, Whitney was determined to get her brand in Nordstroms, Ben Bridge, and other large department stores. Her will and determination was key to her success. She also taught me the importance of being patient and persistent in building your brand, something she carried with her as she took me to different networking and sales opportunities. When she was working with Nordstrom, she helped me create the marketing materials for all the Nordstrom stores carrying her brand. I made picture pages, detailed look books, personalized marketing pages, and other key items to help the sales team learn more about her line.

When Whitney finally made it to Nordstrom, I was able to help her in working fashion trunk shows at the Seattle and San Diego locations. This means that I was with her 10-7 pm selling her beautiful jewelry to awesome Nordstrom customers. This was probably the best experience I’ve had with her. Meeting with her customers, learning about their jewelry needs, and being a part of a Nordstrom sales day was amazing! I was able to help her sell amazing pieces to great people who really believed that jewelry was another way to express yourself.

All in all, I believe that in working at a startup, you learn a lot about yourself and working from the ground up for a project. When you are able to place yourself in ever-changing, fast moving work environment, you learn how to adapt and push yourself to be successful!