As an intern for the Skinnygirl brand in its New York City headquarters this past summer, Carlyle Klein ’17 garnered a unique blend of skills in both the business and entertainment industries.
“I would say my biggest takeaway from the internship would be that really anything is possible in life and you can do anything if you really go for it,” says the English major. “I started trying to get this internship my senior year of high school and eventually I got it but not until my sophomore year in college. I always thought it was cliché for someone to say ‘you can do anything you put your mind to,’ but I proved myself wrong this past summer. If you want it, you just have to go for it, and that’s definitely something that I’ll take with me for all future internships and jobs.”
Klein explains that the internship exposed her to the business aspects of running a company as well as the fast-paced entertainment industry. Working alongside television personality, author, entrepreneur and founder of the Skinnygirl brand Bethenny Frankel and her team, Klein spent much of her internship contributing to behind-the-scenes tasks related to marketing and product distribution, and also on public relations related initiatives for Frankel’s engagements. Through these experiences, Klein says she learned a “roadmap” of how brands stay “constantly engaged and plugged into their consumers.” The exposure to both entertainment and business also helped Klein understand how a successful brand can coexist with a high profile, celebrity owner.
The Skinnygirl brand includes a wide variety of food and culinary products – ranging from Skinnygirl cocktails to popcorn, protein bars and sparkling flavored fruit water – aimed at providing nutritional snack and meal options for women. Klein notes that many of the products — which can be found at Wegmans and other major retailers — are great snack options for college students looking for healthy alternatives. The company also runs a website, “Skinnygirl Daily,” in which Frankel shares health and nutrition advice with her readers.
With a supportive and dynamic team who held Klein to the same standards as full-time employees, she says the opportunity to work at Frankel’s side and with her team was an unforgettable and invaluable experience that has helped prepare her for any career she pursues. For Klein, simply “listening, talking and learning” from her co-workers was the most exciting part of the internship.
“No two days were the same and I was constantly being given new projects and moments to really learn from the team,” Klein says. “I had the best group of people to work with who really gave me a chance to step up and prove myself. They were supportive with high expectations and when needed, showed me how to do better.”
With such a wide range of tasks assigned to her on a daily basis, Klein says she was frequently expected to handle a “shift in focus,” as she prepared for any assignment that came her way – whether it was preparing for a television appearance or working with the business team. Klein credits her coursework at HWS with preparing her to balance such a diverse set of tasks.
In particular, she says her “Entrepreneurial Leadership” course with Associate Director of the Centennial Center for Leadership Amy Forbes taught her about techniques for success, but also gave her another “push” to apply for the internship.
On campus, Klein is a member of the entrepreneurship club as well as the arts and entertainment editor for The Herald.