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photo taken by Jamie Trounce at Deptford studios

As part of my printed textile course at Loughborough University I am currently on an optional placement year. The aim of this year in industry is to gain as much experience as possible, to gain contacts and build confidence to go back to university and achieve your best in final year.

I am coming to the end of my three months at Lorna Syson and my time spent here has been invaluable! I came over an incredibly busy period, the run up to Christmas and the aftermath of trade shows. During my time here I have learnt a host of new skills and have felt welcomed and like a valued member of the team since the first day. In this post I will share with you the top 5 things I’ve learnt during my time here at Lorna Syson.

Packaging lavender bags at Deptford open studios and the Christmas display that I helped style and set up

1. Whilst being here at Lorna Syson I have written numerous blog posts and have kept the blog up to date with information about upcoming events and studio life posts including Christmas wrapping ideas, what is Hygge and pet Owners Q&A’s. Although writing posts now comes second nature to me, initially the thought of any creative writing had me running for the hills! A couple of weeks into my placement I was tasked with writing my first blog post  about the Christmas collection cards and linking them to the newly released John Lewis Christmas advert. I remember being incredibly nervous and unsure in my ability to write a coherent sentence – I kept questioning Lorna and reading out what I had written for reassurance.

Luckily, Lorna was very patient with me and my constant questioning whilst I learnt the ropes. I really had to persevere with blog post writing as the thought of writing them was so daunting, now I just bite the bullet and try not to think about it too much – this approach seems to work!

What I have learnt:

To persevere with what you initially may not like, I now really enjoy the blog side of things, I wouldn’t have realised this unless I had stuck at it! And often you build things up to be more scary in your head than they are in reality.

Top Drawer card display, Christmas cocktails at Cahoots and macrame hanging plant pot work shop with Katie Jones Knit

2.  I have always struggled with a lack of confidence in my self and ability to do things, I have always undervalued my skills and am a constant worrier! Whilst being here I have been pushed into social situations, whether it be open studios, trade shows or answering customer emails   which has definitely helped me with becoming more open and personable. Learning about the products and collections has given me confidence to speak to customers with conviction. Lorna and Alex have thankfully always been confident in my ability to convey the brand  in a professional manner and have encouraged me along the way.

What I have learnt:

Working with a team and knowing what your talking about is a great confidence booster and enables you to realise that you may be good at things you thought you weren’t good at.

Studio Dog Jenkins – who I am going to miss SO much!

3. It has become evident to me that to thoroughly enjoy what you’re doing and to have the motivation to want to do your best heavily relies on enjoying the company of the people you work with. Lorna and Alex have been lovely and incredibly welcoming, making me want to get stuck in and help them with the business as much as I can. I cannot thank them enough for the support and encouragement they have given me and for the valuable skills they have taught me.

What I have learnt:

Getting on well with the team you work with is REALLY important!

Painting the stand at Top Drawer and the final stand after finishing touches

4. Working here has been a great introduction into working life and has really helped me get into a working routine. I am hoping that the routine of getting up and working productively throughout the day will help me during my final year at uni, where there will be a lot of pressure with deadlines and stress to do well. Lorna is incredibly well organised and before I had started had already sent me over show dates and a timetable for the hours I would be working throughout my three months here. Being well organised really helps to maximize the amount of work we can get done in a day and all having allocated jobs mean that we have the workload covered.

What I have learnt:

Having a routine, set goals and being organised can really help maximize your potential.

Lorna, Alex and I at the Cockpit Arts Christmas drinks

5. Whilst being here I have learnt so much about how a business is run, there is so much to consider and this is something I had no idea about. A lot of it goes straight over my head, however there is lots I have picked up on and this will be incredibly valuable to me in the future. Whether it be styling for open studios, sending out orders, learning the design process, entering customer details into our system, sending out newsletters, or blogging, I have covered a lot during my time here and the experience has been amazing.

What I have learnt:

Working with a business such as Lorna’s has enabled me to be a big cog in a small wheel, everything I have done is valued and greatly appreciated by Lorna as it has all been necessary and crucial to keeping the business going. This experience has enabled me to get stuck in with the workings of a business and has been a great introduction to working life.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and would not recommend the experience enough, I have learnt so much in such a short period of time that I will carry forward with me to my next placement and final year. I am now slightly less daunted about the prospect of going back to uni and preparing for my final degree show thanks to the confidence and skills I have gained whilst working here.

I have also been invited back for the photoshoot featuring additions to the fabric collection and I am very excited to be part of that process later on this year in May.

Written by Annie Preece

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