Inclusion and Acceptance Through Mismatched Socks

This is part of series of posts by recipients of the 2020 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Blake Guillaume, WH ’22

This summer I was afforded a unique opportunity to work as a Business Development Intern for Pals Socks remotely from my home in south Florida. Pals Socks is a Philadelphia-based children’s socks company with a mission of promoting inclusivity and acceptance using their mismatched sock designs. Pals’ founder, Hannah Lavon, started the brand to promote her personal belief that the world is a better place when we learn to make friends different from ourselves.

As a black student at Penn, their mission to spread the positivity of diversity and inclusion especially resonated with me. I also gravitated towards the chance to work for an early stage consumer products company with a small management team that would give me an opportunity to work on projects that would have a significant impact within the firm.

Initially, I was also excited to return to Philadelphia to work for a firm that was headquartered just a few miles outside University City. Unfortunately, with the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic I was unable to spend the entire summer working with Pals in person. Initially, I was somewhat disappointed that my experience would be remote, but to my surprise my entire internship translated virtually far better than I initially anticipated.

Almost every day, I would get to discuss the scope of my projects over video call with some of the Pals team and I was able to use the entire team as an immediate resource whenever I needed any support or had questions. Despite not being able to actually step foot in the Pals warehouse or office, I felt the comfort of having a supportive team around me constantly helping me learn, innovate, and develop as an intern.

To begin my internship, I spoke with the firm’s COO about what potential projects would align the closest to the skills and experiences I was looking to build. I am broadly interested in business strategy so we decided a good project to work on would be restructuring the brand’s online presence in response to COVID-19’s impact on the retail industry.

A lot of the work on this project involved implementing changes to the firm’s brand presentation on direct-to-consumer ecommerce platforms as well as the firm’s own website. Working on such a broad project allowed me to collect a variety of experiences across different skill categories including search engine optimization, consumer satisfaction research, and inventory management.

By the end of my internship with Pals, I felt like I had accomplished so many different learning milestones that I never would have imagined before the start of the summer. I feel extremely grateful for the Career Services department’s generosity in funding my internship this summer and could not be happier with the learning experiences I was able to build at Pals as an intern.

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