Above Photo: Our first meeting when Sara officially became Caitlin Elizabeth's first bridal and alterations intern.
In 2015, Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal & Alterations embarked on many new adventures. In June, I was surrounded by wedding dresses and working full-time. Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal and Alterations was in peak-wedding season! Although I did not proactively look for a summer intern, I was fortunate to have one of the biggest and most gratifying opportunities that would change my whole vision, mission, and drive for Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal and Alterations.
Sara Turke, currently a senior at Iowa State University, reached out after her study abroad in Italy to possibly intern with Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal and Alterations. This was actually not the first time that I have had talented individuals reach out to me. In the past I never furthered the conversations with these individuals. There was something special about Sara, therefore, I decided to meet her for coffee. I knew the moment I met Sara that she was a very talented, motivated designer who was hungry to learn and excel.
For the next 10 weeks, Sara and I spent many hours (many many hours!) together. I wanted to not only help Sara focus on her garment construction, design, and pattern-making skills, but also wanted to help her refine her marketing skills, entrepreneurial skills, customer service skills. Although I taught her a number of real-tangible skills, Sara taught me just as much (or more) about myself. I have a passion to inspire and influence community over competition to make a difference one person at a time.
Are you interested in a summer internship with Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal and Alterations?
I'm excited to announce that in 2016, Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal and Alterations has two summer internship opportunities.
Are you interested in what you will learn? Sara shares her experience below as a Bridal and Alteration Intern with Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal and Alterations.
Above Photo: Sarah learning the art of bridal alterations to get the perfect fit.
What were the top four things that you learned from your internship that you could apply to the real world?
- You are your brand. As a business owner, or in my case designer, you’re always representing who you are as your brand. Anyone you meet could be the connection between you and your next opportunity.
- Having an online presence is a huge component to representing yourself. Social media is part of everyone’s daily life. It is important to represent myself on platforms applicable to my industry and studies to make the best first impression. Caitlin Elizabeth took the time to thoroughly review my LinkedIn profile and portfolio.
- Networking with other professionals and business owners is a great way to collaborate and idea share. It's great to share insight on a similar topic but also learn different perspectives.
- It is important to listen to the customer. When your client is a bride, you have to remember she has made a very important purchase. It is equally important to make sure the bride knows you are listening to her alteration requests.
Above Photo: Sara representing Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal and Alterations for Iowa State University Freshman and Sophomores.
Above Photo: Sara helped me deliver dresses to the bride and her bridal party. She also helped steam the entire bridal parties' chiffon dresses to make sure everyone was ready for this bride's big day.
Above Photo: Sara returned from Fall semester with her Senior Line, which focused on Mother-of-the-bride dresses. From market research to design, she created these three amazing garments. These designs and additional designs by Sara will be on the runway at the Iowa State Fashion Show on April 9th at Stephens Auditorium.
What do you consider one of your greatest strengths you have uncovered during your internship?
One strength I discovered was hand sewing. I really liked doing beadwork on wedding dresses. There was one particular wedding dress where I had to match the beaded appliqué on the bodice. I ended up designing a few different appliques for my senior collection based on my positive experience with hand sewing.
Above Photo: Sara learning how to create beaded appliques and sew them to this wedding dress.
Above Photo: Sara learning how to hem a wedding dress.
If you could tell your '2015-self' something that you know now, what would it be?
If I could tell my '2015-self' anything, I would tell myself that everything would work out. I worried so much about whether or not I was going to get an internship for the summer. I was so hung up on the idea that I had to go to New York or I needed a big brand company, but I think that was limiting myself. Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal and Alterations offered an amazing internship with hands on experience and the ability to develop my professional skills. With Caitlin Elizabeth's expertise in social media and marketing from her full-time day job, I felt like I received expertise in those areas also. I wouldn’t trade my internship experience for any name brand company.
Above Photo: Sara showing one of the two veils she completed for the veil project. This research and development project started with researching different styles and trends of veils. Then Sara took the information she collected and create two prototypes.
What was different about your internship at Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal and Alterations compared to some other “big brand” internships?
The biggest difference between my internship at Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal & Alterations and a “big brand” company was experience. At “big brand” companies, they hire interns to do a lot of non-sense work that their employees do not want to do (i.e. coffee runs, tracing patterns, etc.). Interns never get the true, hands-on experience that I got at my internship. The most valuable aspect of this internship was that I actually applying everything I was learning!
Above Photo: Let's just say that Sara got really good at beading details. Beading and lace application is a really important skill in the bridal industry.
Above Photo: Sara learning how to hem this wedding dress based on our pinning from our bridal fitting.
Above Photo: Sara learning how to create beaded appliques. Sara took this concept and incorporated it into her Senior fashion line for her Mother-of-the-bride dresses.
Thank you to Sara for being a part of my story and journey.
Thank you to Sara for being a part of my story and journey. Not only did I inspire Sara, but Sara also inspired me to influence community over competition to make a difference one person at a time. I could not be more proud of Sara. The best is yet to come.
Above Photo: The thank-you card I received from Sara. Sara learned the power of a hand written thank-you card and how powerful that gesture can be. Her card was so cute and creative that I had to take a photo.
Above Photo: I love keeping in touch with my interns. Sara and I caught up over winter break! I look forward to seeing her designs in the Iowa State Fashion Show!
Sharing my bridal expertise one blog post at a time. As always, thanks for reading.