Ella Brummer

Major: Apparel, Merchandising, and Design
Minor/option/emphasis: AMD-Merchandising
Company/Organization: Dillard's
Company/Organization website: https://www.dillards.com/
Destination: Des Moines, IA
Timeframe: summer
Advisor/Coordinator Email: annthye@iastate.edu


At Dillard's I was a visual merchandising and store management intern. The store manager portion of the internship allowed me to understand the ins and outs of the store. It gave me a good idea of how Dillard's as a company operates. However, my main focus was visual merchandising. I would start off my week meeting with the store manager, assistant store manager and the visual merchandising managers for a critical walk. The critical walk consisted of us walking the floor and brainstorming what needed to be changed or updated. We would then spend the rest of our morning checking emails from corporate regarding directives as well as upcoming events or holidays. This would allow us to plan our week accordingly. Another factor that helped plan out the week was researching sales by department to determine what areas need to be reimagined. Throughout the week I would design and create displays to promote sales and trends. After creating displays or reworking a department I would track sales for growth. If sales increased a desirable amount I would let the department live and continue to monitor it, if i did not increase I would plan to rework it again. This was something I really enjoyed. It was very rewarding to see how much impact the visual display had in promoting sales.


At the time of my internship, the store had just ended construction, which gave me a unique opportunity. I was able to be involved in a department wide floor move. I was able to be involved in the planning of the floor layout as well as all visual aspects. This was my biggest accomplishment during my internship.

What advice would you give?

As for advice to future students, I found that my biggest problem was lack of communication. I often felt like I did not have any authority to speak with my boss, this is due to my shy personality. I recommend that you ask to meet with your supervisor on a regular basis. This will allow you to talk through your responsibilities compared to what your actually doing, ask questions, ask for opportunities and create a good professional relationship. I started doing this later on in my internship and it made for clear communication and resulted in me being given more responsibility to facilitate my learning experience. It also gave me more confidence because I was speaking in a professional capacity consistently and had a better understanding of what I was being taught. The confidence I gathered from this has helped me immensely in my professional endeavors.

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