Waking up each morning at 6am, to start your day at 9am with hundreds of women judging your outfit is a far cry from the glamour you might have expected, it’s intimidating to say the least.
Working in the Press Office at the Arcadia Group headquarters just off Oxford Street was a daunting yet enjoyable experience, and required an assiduous attitude towards anything that was thrown at you. Whether it was trawling a broken clothes rail across greater London to pick up next seasons unseen looks or going to every Paperchase in the vicinity to find a suitable gift bag for clients, there was rarely a dull moment. Unless you count the times I was asked to scan newspaper coverage from the last three months (which took two days) or to cut and stick articles onto mood boards. Still, at least I didn’t have to make any cups of tea.
It’s true that working as an intern in retail is often a tiring, monotonous experience but you can find comfort in the fact everyone who you are working for has also done the same. The senior press officer at Miss Selfridge and Wallis, and my mentor, Victoria (who did three months unpaid work experience before landing her job) often helped me with some menial tasks so I wouldn’t spend all day doing them, which is a great example of how lovely the staff really are at Arcadia Group Ltd. If she was doing something exciting, she would take me along too, for example I was lucky enough to meet Sir Phillip Green, which was a definite highlight of my time there. And yes, his office boasts three rooms, a roof terrace looking over the London Eye and a massive poster of Kate Moss, possibly 20 times the size of the photo of his own daughter and Made in Chelsea star, Chloe Green.
Another great aspect of working in the Press Office was to help organise the ‘look book’ shoots for the next season, and I was privileged enough to be there when the Miss Selfridge Christmas look book shoot took place. This involved helping the models and photographers with anything they wanted, picking up clothes from the buying department and watching the shoot! Furthermore, I was also working with the events team for the ‘Christmas in July’ event, where they showcased the Christmas items to members of the press such as the editors of Grazia, Look and More! Magazine.
One of the best things about working at Arcadia was, of course, the sample sales. Every month the old samples are sold to employees at a fraction of the cost in order to raise money for their chosen charities. Think Topshop playsuits for £5, Miss Selfridge Leather Jackets for £8 and Dorothy Perkins heels for £3!
Working for Arcadia definitely gave me a fantastic insight into a career in retail, having been given the same responsibility as an employee. With the right attitude an internship like this can be a life-changing and unforgettable experience.