Innovation Fellows in the City
Junior Sara Carter was one of five to receive the NYC Innovation Fellowship to complete her internship in the city and attend networking events, panels, and social outings with the minor's alumni and affiliates. Sara interned at Gojee, a tastemaking e-commerce site promoting New York fashion.
Have you ever watched a waiter deliver food to the table beside you and ordered what was on their plate, without even knowing what it was? Gojee is a company that thrives on humans’ visual processing and purchasing patterns. They have created an unbelievable aesthetic that makes buying New York fashion designs as beautiful as wearing them.
Gojee works with emerging clothing, jewelry, handbag and furniture designers exclusively in New York City where I interned last summer as an NYC Innovation Fellow. They are a platform for designers to sell their designs in a virtual upscale boutique.
My job as an intern shifted with the needs of the company throughout the summer. On slow days, I was creating content for our daily emails or putting together collections of our pieces to promote on social media. On crazy days, I was hustling through Midtown on foot while hand-delivering invitations to our shop’s launch party. Every day, however, I was experiencing start-up culture firsthand and learning about the collaboration, compromise and dedication required to keep a company afloat.
To my surprise, I was the only full-time female on a team of ten. I worked for three West Point graduates who served in the Army in the Middle East and created a casual working environment with a constant flow of takeout and laughs. In an industry that is notorious for cutthroat, catty women in uncomfortable heels barking orders to hungry interns, the Gojee team was quite an anomaly. The founders were never fashionistas themselves; rather, they built a model for e-commerce that they found best fit the fashion world.
My favorite task while working for Gojee was assisting in the planning and implementing of #WearNewYork Week. Gojee teamed with Olympic Silver Medalist and special correspondent to E! News, Tim Morehouse, to create a week of social media, news spots, and a fashion show to promote New York fashion designers. Throughout the week, Gojee’s designers reached out to their celebrity and fashion blogging clients to share images and tweets of their favorite NYC-produced pieces with the hashtag “#WearNewYork.” A launch party at the end of the week featured models in Gojee’s designers’ pieces, drinks sponsored by Ciroc Vodka, and a national spot on E! News hosted by Alicia Quarles. I managed a massive guestlist, updated the #WearNewYork blog with press pieces throughout the week, and worked the door at the actual event. The party was a huge success and a great opportunity to network with designers, magazine editors and fashion bloggers. It was amazing to see the victories of the week’s campaign; the party was at capacity, photos were flooding social media, and #WearNewYork was established as an annual event that will continue to grow.
I was given the extraordinary opportunity to complete my internship at Gojee through the NYC Innovation Fellowship. Each year, five students are chosen to receive an award to offset the cost of living and working in New York City. I had been to the city before as a tourist, but living there was as exhilarating as it was exhausting. I sublet an apartment from a Russian barber on the Upper East Side with another Fellow, Natasha Babchak. Having never before hailed a cab or swiped into a subway, I was thrilled to live with another student to sooth my nerves.
Though none of the Fellows were familiar faces before the summer started, by the end, we had made enough lasting memories to ensure future ones. The Minor in Entrepreneurship set up panel discussions and tours with alumni that gave us firsthand exposure and application of what we’ve learned in class. We visited recent E-minor grads working at Google and were treated to “Matilda” on Broadway. We spoke with top financial executives in the J.P. Morgan offices and watched the sun set from a schooner on the Hudson. We cheered on UNC at the Carolina-State baseball game from a North Carolina barbecue joint with our alumni mentor, Laura Satterly. At the end of the summer, we dined at Mario Batali’s restaurant (Mario sighting included) with the faculty from the minor, alumni, program donors, and fellow UNC students.
There were so many moments throughout the summer when I had to pinch myself; the opportunities and lessons provided by the Innovation Fellowship activities challenged my views on my career pursuits and perception of industries I previously knew so little about. I was so humbled by the generosity of the alumni and faculty who reached out to the Fellows with mentorship and support, both financial and emotional.
I intend to return to New York City after graduation to pursue marketing in the lifestyle and fashion industries, with the ultimate goal of mentoring future NYC Innovation Fellows. I will always attribute any of my successes to the Minor in Entrepreneurship for allowing me to experience what was undoubtedly the greatest summer of my life!