It all started in the summer of 2020 when I was looking for internships on the Handshake app for my CV. At first, I did not think I would land the internship but when Ashly sent me an email asking if I wanted to work with her, I couldn’t say no.
At first, I didn’t know much about the brand, I only knew about why Ashly started her brand and a bit about her journey. I wasn’t sure if this would be a good idea, but I am glad I took the risk because I learned so much from working with SPLICE clothing.
Behind The Scenes
There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. I recommended that transparency might appeal to her customers. She took the initiative to ask her followers directly what you wanted to see more of in SPLICE clothing. You guys gave her amazing ideas to work with and she was able to take those ideas into potentially including them in her next launch. She loves to listen and connect with her followers. She showed me how important it was to engage with your audience. Something you guys do not know is that she wishes she could interact with you guys more often. It was hard for her because during the time she was working as a legal assistant. I know, shocking she had a job!? Yes, indeed Ashly had a regular job while she was working on her brand.
No kidding, it is difficult to start a brand on your own, even more so during a pandemic. A lot of work goes into designing, financing, marketing, manufacturing, shipping, and communicating with customers and business partners. Any plans Ashly had with other potential business partners were affected because of the pandemic. It became an issue for other small businesses too. I just didn’t know how bad it affected them. To be honest, every business was affected and continues to be affected in 2020. Lots of business owners had to close down, their dreams were put on hold. I’m glad SPLICE clothing didn’t shut down but I often wonder what will happen if we can’t travel in 2021? Will SPLICE clothing still hold? The good thing is that if you have enough grit and faith in your brand as Ashly does, then you can overcome the obstacles and find other ways.
Managing a Business
Something you guys may not know is that Ashly has a business consultant. I had no idea too until she told me. When you have a company it’s good to have a mentor or consultant who is willing to give you advice. There is so much time invested in starting and owning a business, even more for Ashly Ryan because she does everything by herself! I will admit when I asked her during the interview how many people worked with her and she said to me, “just me”…..I was a bit unsure whether I would learn anything. There is a lot that goes into having a business, especially if the only employee is yourself. She showed me everything she dealt with such as taxes, newsletters, social media, etc. One important skill to have in management is planning. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
Social Media and Marketing
When I was asked to take over Instagram for SPLICE clothing I was both excited and scared. Although I wanted to learn more about social media marketing, I had no idea what sorts of stuff I should post or share with you guys. It was a learning experience for me, I kid you not every post is planned. Before I thought people who took their Insta account seriously had too much time on their hands. The truth is it’s a lot of work. I was taught how to use the algorithms to plan each post accordingly and given ideas on what to share. Whenever I made a post, my goal was to get as many people as interested in the brand and attract new followers to check us out. However, you have to keep your brand in mind with every post.
Often at times, it’s necessary to reach out to bloggers who fit your brand image. Those of you familiar with Ashly and SPLICE clothing know that sometimes she has to opportunity to be interviewed. Opportunities like this allow a brand to gain attention and potentially grown its sales and followers. It’s also a great way to market your product because you get to reach a new audience. While most of SPLICE clothing is sold online, it’s also sold at two stores in the United States. Selling B2B and B2C are two different things. Sometimes you have to reach out to stores with an email and convince them why your brand is perfect and what it has to offer, including a line sheet that features some items and pictures. We also do this when reaching out to bloggers because sometimes they may request a sample of some sort before they mention a brand in their blog or social media.
Recruiting was a huge part of my internship. I looked for brands that had a similar theme to SPLICE clothing for the photoshoot and blogs to be featured. Not every person you reach out to will respond, but we were able to make some connections. You want to reach out to potential partners who built their brands around the same goal. I had to keep in mind what our mission was, packing lighter, and look for products that could work with us. Indeed it took a lot of time and research but it was worth it because we made new partnerships that are now part of SPLICE clothing. It worked out in the end because they also got featured in a photoshoot that took place in August.
All in all, 2020 proved to be the year of opportunity and experience for me. It was the first internship I had and the first time I got to see what goes on behind the scenes of a brand. No worries I didn’t spill the whole tea of course! So much is still left a mystery for those who read this post. And to those who love SPLICE clothing, thank you for your patronage. Honestly, every time someone buys from SPLICE clothing it leads Ashly closer to her goal. We need to support small businesses and women in business who are trying hard to support their projects. Thanks, Ashly and SPLICE clothing for allowing me to be a part of the journey, I will forever be grateful for the wonderful opportunity.
As for the future intern…good luck! You won’t regret the opportunity to work with such a small and amazing brand.