Bonobos Is My New Normal

August 11, 2012

Today was my last day.  Simple, right?  Not really.  To accurately describe what I did at Bonobos, what I learned, and the amazing people I met is impossible.  I can really only begin to scratch the surface all these things.  I know it sounds cliche, but it is the honest answer.

I feel like I learned so much.  Not all of what I learned what some new strategy or method, some of it was extremely logical.  However, it never occurred to me because I was never in a position to think of it before.  Nevertheless, I did learn new strategies and methods.  I learned what it means to have a defined office culture, and how that is used to be more efficient in the work place.  I learned strategies when working with foreigners and even the guy down the street at a company you deal with maybe a few times a year.

The grant I received from the Dickinson College Career Center really made my experience this summer at Bonobos financially possible, and I want to thank them kindly for granting me that scholarship.  I have grown, learned and lived so much this summer, and I will never forget it.  I look forward to talking with everyone at Bonobos, and hopefully visiting them soon!

I might write another blog entry when I’ve had more time to really reflect about the past 10 weeks, but I also feel that a blog post written while I’m experiencing the end is also a valuable insight into what I think.  Major take-aways from this summer: to make pants fun, people before profit, in pants we trust.  This is the ninja way.  This is the Bonobos way.


Customers Before Profit

August 4, 2012

This past week, I’ve spent a few hours each day with the ninjas (customer service reps) at Bonobos.  There is a great program at Bonobos where employees have to spend time and learn some of what the ninjas do.  So, I have started to see how Bonobos as a company interacts with its customers.  The motto at Bonobos is “customers before profit,” and I think that is especially true.  There was an order that a customer was not sure was going to arrive before they left the country the next day, and we wanted them to not miss out on not getting their pants, so we did some ninja magic and got their order to them the next morning before they left to go to the airport.

 

I think it is vital for companies to be in tune with their customers, because after all, customers are what allows companies to last through time.  From my experience with the ninjas and during this summer, I know Bonobos really tries to provide customers with great products, to have fun with customers with their #BonobosNation and give customers the best service.


A Temporary “Goodbye Production” and “Hello Design”

July 22, 2012

This past week, I was with the Design team, as opposed to the Production team, so I could begin to see what the design team does, and how it interacts with the production team.  I helped the Design team by uploading different types of fabrics and trims into our computer system, so when one of the designers is creating the computer file to send to the factory with garment instructions, they can quickly associate a fabric with a style.  I was also explained briefly how inspiration boards work, and got to even match zippers to fabrics for some pant styles!  So if you get a pair of black pants with a bright green zipper, it was all my own doing… (just kidding!)

note: these are not Bonobos pants, but illustrated my idea well!
 http://store.vampirefreaks.com/products/…

One thing I took away from this week, is that design incorporates the use of computers a lot more than I had previously thought.  I suppose I thought a lot of the work was still done with pencils and sketches, which I am sure that is how it is in the initial stages of designing a garment, but when we communicate styles to factories, all of the images I have seen are computer-generated.  Next week, I am back with the production team, and am excited to get back to the production team – especially since we have a new addition on the team!


So This Is How You Get What You Ordered

July 13, 2012

I was invited to go with some wonderful Bonobos members to visit the distribution center we use to fulfill online orders.  We visited there this morning, and got to see the floor of the DC.  It was really interesting to see what goes on there, since I had never seen a distribution center before.  Throughout my time at the DC, people were busily packaging outbound products to customers as well as a robot system called Kiva.  Kiva is an amazing system of robots that roll around on the ground and go under shelves of products.  It lifts up the shelves and brings the unit to the person taking the items to put into a bin, which then goes to another station to be packaged for shipment.

I really got a kick out of seeing these robots.  While we were walking around their “zone,” I would glance over and would see the little orange Kiva bots moving around like busy bees, just minding their own business.  I think visiting the DC is really informational, because I now know the process of what happens when a customer purchases something and then what steps are performed until the order goes out the door via UPS.  This is a huge part of how an online company stays afloat financially, and the processes that are undertaken in product fulfillment need to be logical and efficient.  This trip to the DC was a very good and relevant insight into the operations department.


I’ve Got Dickinson On My Mind

July 11, 2012

As I go to my internship and take part in many different tasks around the production team department, I often think about what has enabled me to be where I am.  I work very hard during the school year to get good grades, however having an internship in New York City is a two-part battle.  Thanks to my education at Dickinson College and advisors there, I was able to secure my internship fairly earlier prior to the start of it – I won battle number 1.

Battle number 2 is a bit trickier since it involves money, and lots of it.  New York is notorious for being one of the most expensive cities to live in in the United States.  My friend, who had an internship last summer abroad, told me about the Dickinson College Career Center’s grant for offsetting the costs associated with doing a summer internship.  I am very fortunate and thankful for being selected as a recipient of this grant.  The grant has allowed me much more financial freedom this summer – I have been able to afford a room with a student housing service in a safe and accessible location, transportation to and from work, groceries, and costs for me getting from my home in the Midwest out to New York.  I am spending some money of my own money out-of-pocket, however this grant has severely eased my family’s and my own fears that doing an internship in New York City would be financially impossible.

I also have reflected recently about the type of education I am receiving at Dickinson.  I am really starting to value a liberal arts education as opposed to one at a university.  When I was applying to colleges, I really did not care whether a school was labeled university or liberal arts college, however now that I am out in the “real world,” I see how my liberal arts education at Dickinson is preparing me for success.  By having classes in a wide range of subjects, I have a broad knowledge of many different things.  So far, I’ve incorporated skills I learned in Comp Sci 131 (a class I would probably have never taken had there been no Division III requirements at Dickinson), my international business courses, and Chinese.  I believe that my liberal arts education has made the transition into the workplace easier, because the tasks I do at Bonobos are not the same day after day.  Rather, I am doing a wide range of tasks and have responsibilities that I am able to accomplish because I am used to doing many different things in different subjects back at Dickinson.  So far, I am really enjoying my internship – I couldn’t have asked for anything better!


What Happens When a Federal Holiday Is During the Middle of the Week?

July 6, 2012

As we all know, the Fourth of July was this past Wednesday.  While Americans love this holiday, it was kind of an awkward time during the week to have a day off for the office.  It seemed like people were a little more relaxed regarding what time to go home the day before the holiday.  I got to leave early on Tuesday which allowed me to go visit family and have a wonderful family get-together.

However, an office must continue to operate during the rest of the week.  I have never had almost daily email correspondence with people from different nations before this internship, so I had never experienced a time when people were emailing me important information and I didn’t have to respond because I was on a holiday break.  I suppose this is what it is like when we try to communicate with vendors and people in Asia during the Chinese New Year time.  Nevertheless, we are still staying busy as we transition into the third quarter!  More to come on a more in-depth week recap.  But for now, here’s a Happy Fourth from Bonobos!

http://instagram.com/p/MqPs5JydGZ/


A Boston Weekend

June 27, 2012

This past weekend I went to Boston to visit a friend from Dickinson who is leaving to study abroad pretty soon.  They took me into downtown Boston to visit iconic Boston attractions such as Faneuil Hall, Boston Common and the harbor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also went to the Bonobos Boston Guide Shop on Newbury Street.  It was so cool to see the other Bonobos Guide Shop and meet the people who work there.  The Boston Guide Shop is really important for making people in the Boston area aware of the Bonobos brand and to be accessible for customers in the Boston region.

I also ran into a friend from home who was in Boston for their family summer vacation, and then on the Sunday, I went to the beach in my friend’s hometown.  I had a crazy, interesting and amazing weekend!  I’ll just have to go back to see more!


Staying On Top Of Things

June 27, 2012

Throughout childhood, our parents are always on their kids to make sure their kids remember to do their homework, do their chores and so on.  During college, students learn that staying on top of their academic and social life requires hard work and dedication.  It seems that staying on top of things is something we are taught and learn from those around us.

So too do companies need to stay on top of things – especially the production department.  I’ve learned quickly that if the production of an item is not on schedule, major issues will occur when it comes time to ship and launch a product.  One of my new responsibilities is to be the point-person for time and action (T&A) reports for a few of the vendors with whom we work.  This means I get the reports and bring them to a sit down with one of the production managers and afterwards, I reach out to the vendors to make sure that potential issues are taken care of or being advised.

What the T&A shows is something like this: say a yarn type needs to be decided by June 1, the color needs to be decided by June 15, a fit sample needs to be completed by July 10th, and a prototype needs to be completed and received by August 1 (of course, there are more deadlines than these, though they work for the example).  The key is communicating with the vendors to make sure that items being approved on our end are understood and produced in the specified ways.  By making sure that deadlines are met so the product can be launched and available to the customers at the desired time, the production department really focuses on staying on top of the T&A reports since these really give a good account of how smoothly, or not smoothly, something is being produced.

Working with the T&As is a new responsibility, though after seeing how they work, I understand how crucial they are.  I think it is good for me to have this responsibility because I really enjoy seeing how things coordinate with one another and making sure that things are done on time.  This is just one of the things I’ve learned that the production department does to make sure everything runs well – I am currently learning about another activity where the production department is yet again the middle-man regarding the creation of labels on the products.  More to come on that front later!


A Work-Place Reality

June 21, 2012

The other day while I was at Bonobos, one of the Production Team’s members announced to me that that day was their last at Bonobos.  It wasn’t because they were frustrated with work, or because they didn’t like it.  It was simply because they wanted to go back to school.  Even though I’ve only been at Bonobos for about two and a half weeks now, I really enjoyed working with this member of the Production Team.  After work that day, I realized that this type of event will happen constantly throughout my career.

Throughout school and college, we are working with classmates and studying to graduate together with a class.  I realized, however, that once you enter the workforce, you don’t work and “retire” with a class – rather, you work and during the course of time, people will leave and new people will join.  As normal as this is, I really haven’t experienced it, and for me to reflect about it later on.  Even though this isn’t some system or method I learned for my work at Bonobos, it is more of a workplace/life event that I experienced.  Even though this team member has left, I’m pretty sure they will enjoy their plans to return back to school!  Good luck!


New York.

June 21, 2012

I thought it was only fair to provide a picture of New York City from my room.  Why?  Because I have an awesome view!  The view was the first thing I noticed once I got to where I am staying during my time in NYC this summer.  I woke up early to catch a flight and caught a cab to my building.  After being pretty stressed with an almost-overweight suitcase, it was nice to sit down in a chair and just look out of my window.

This past weekend, my roommate, his friend, and I decided to visit the 9/11 Memorial.  I remember visiting NYC a few months after this horrific event happened, and seeing the site still with tons of debris.  Now, the “Freedom Tower” sticks out in the NYC skyline as a beacon of American rebuilding.

The 9/11 Memorial is very close to the “Freedom Tower” and has water pouring on each of the sides of the Twin Towers’s imprints.  In the middle of each imprint there is another square-shaped drop into the ground.  No one can see the bottom of this, and water infinitely flows into it.  I actually think this concept of infinite water flowing is a good concept for the memorial.

 

Still to this day, many roses are left by names of those who unfortunately died on or because of the 9/11 tragedy.  This is a sign that this horrible event still touches us today.