My name is Charlie Molin and I am currently a rising junior at Chapman University majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Data Analytics. I’m currently working as a Marketing Intern at Kengosa sustainable plant-based shoe company reinventing every aspect of how traditional sneakers are made. 

I’m very grateful for this internship because I get to combine a variety of my passions into one job – creating content, working in the fashion/footwear industry, and working for a company that reduces its harm to the environment. Due to the startup nature of the company – 11 team members including advisors – I have the opportunity to work closely with an incredibly talented group of individuals, many with 25+ years of experience in their industries. What I’m most excited about is the immediate hands-on experience you gain when working with a startup. Every member has many responsibilities in this fast-paced environment with a structure that allows you to make your own decisions while constantly collaborating with each other. My responsibilities include scaling their content creation, reaching out to influencers and publications, optimizing their website, along with a few other tasks, all for the purpose of setting new standards for sustainability in an industry known for its harmful impact on the environment.

However, I think the most important takeaway is the way in which I found this opportunity and took advantage of it. Last semester I would regularly attend the Melrose Trading Post, a popular flea market in Los Angeles. I was walking and saw the Kengos booth selling shoes but didn’t think to go check it out. One member of the team saw me staring and called me over. He explained their mission to make footwear a force for good and walked me through their process for creating the world’s most sustainable shoe. Most notably, they remove all adhesives and bind the shoe together with a durable string. This process also leads to a unique and beautiful design. After researching the company further, I decided I had to work for them. I truly believe in this company and its potential to make the world a better place. I sent an email to Dave Costello, the founder, telling him about my background in designing clothing from recycled materials and why our values align perfectly. I mentioned my interest in a summer internship and explained how my own areas of expertise could help them grow. To my surprise, he messaged me back to set up a video call. We had an amazing conversation which led to a second call and by the end, I had received my first Internship offer.

My advice for anyone looking for an internship is to not underestimate the power of being proactive and creating your own opportunities. Job postings on Linkedin or Indeed are often very competitive and responses can be rare. I’ve realized that companies love seeing young people being proactive and trying to make their own opportunities. I saw a company that struck a chord with me and although they didn’t have a job listing, I emailed them asking for one. Instead of waiting for companies to respond to your application, follow these steps to create your own path. 1) Research companies you are passionate about. 2) Tell them why you feel connected to their mission. 3)Tell them you are interested in employment. 4) Explain how you can help their company with your own experiences. 5. Show your enthusiasm.