Jenna Tobin was an intern with ApexDrop, an influence marketing startup that connects fashion influencers with the brands they love. ApexDrop has an impressive list of industry partners including GiGi, Fossil, and NY&C. Due to their growth and Jenna’s performance, she’s recently been promoted to the company’s Campaign Manager, but she sat down to talk with us about coworking as an intern.
(Check out our interview with Apex Drop founder Zak Stahlsmith)
The ApexDrop team got their first desks at Radius in early 2016, when they brought on Jenna. Recently, they expanded into the Erie Technology Incubator located just down the block from Radius. As a coworking space, Radius offers an affordable downtown location and professional community to startups and small businesses, as well as an early stage business support network. For students, Radius is one of the best places to find hip new companies to intern for and to get well networked during that time.
Radius: What do you study and what are your responsibilities with ApexDrop?
Jenna: I currently study fashion merchandising at Mercyhurst University.
At ApexDrop we work with both brands and influencers. I connect influencers with our network. I reach out to influencers on social media and respond to influencers who contact us to set them up with our influencer program. I also review applications from influencers with Zak.
In addition to managing the influencer community, I monitor and analyze fashion trends. I help market ApexDrop by publishing content dealing with fashion. In the future, I plan to build larger marketing campaigns with fashion industry partners.
Radius: How did you find ApexDrop?
Jenna: It was a weird coincidence. I was planning on studying my last year in New York City with one of Mercyhurst’s sister schools in the fashion industry. We need to complete an internship in order to graduate so I thought this could be a great opportunity to gain access to the fashion industry. I briefly discussed it with an adviser who had coincidentally spoke to Zak Stahlsmith the day before. I actually knew Zak’s girlfriend and had been nominated for Erie’s most stylish awards which ApexDrop launched in 2015. So I reached out. I had an interview and got started shortly after that.
Radius: How valuable has your internship been with ApexDrop?
Jenna: Working with ApexDrop helped me to understand how to build a startup company. I’m fortunate for the opportunity with ApexDrop because it led me to the decision to stay in Erie for the rest of my education. It’s also been valuable working with a startup because I get to see literally everything, rather than only work on the few small projects that probably aren’t important to a big brand’s whole business.
It’s also been fun and helpful because I meet people in other companies at Radius. I’ve met other interns from Mercyhurst here, people working in tech jobs that don’t really have anything to do with my work but are still interesting, and it is much cooler than campus or a cubicle.
As soon as my internship ends I am actually being hired by ApexDrop as the Campaign Manager. Getting a paid job with a startup right after an internship while still working on my degree is exciting, and definitely valuable if I ever decide to pursue something else.
Radius: Right. Because otherwise you would have had to move to a bigger city to participate in the fashion industry.
Jenna: I was expecting to have to move to a bigger city. I never thought I would have the opportunity to stay in Erie. I am very fortunate. My family is from Erie and I get the opportunity to stay close to them, which is nice, but really it isn’t something you would expect.
The fashion industry is mostly located in cities like New York or LA. I didn’t even consider that there would be an option in Erie, and really, there wouldn’t have been if Zak hadn’t started ApexDrop. It’s the only thing like it here, and so the only thing that could have given me meaningful professional experience.
Radius: Not many students are thinking, “I could go do an internship in a coworking space,” and I know you only ended up here after joining ApexDrop. But, what do you really like about coworking?
Jenna: I get to learn so many things from different groups and companies. Having your own office space located within a larger community of professionals is fun, but it also feels more professional when you are on a small team. Before coming here I hadn’t seen how much was going on in the city with small companies. Honestly, it’s really a great view. I like that a lot.
Radius: Thank you for taking the time Jenna!
Jenna: Thank you for the interview!