Rebecca Allen, Inc., New York, NY
This summer, I interned for Rebecca Allen, a direct-to-consumer brand providing sophisticated solutions to help women do their best work. Rebecca ’07, an alumna of Williams, started her namesake brand selling three classic shoe styles in five shades of nude, from dark to light. While the primary products are shoes, the brand launched a direct seller initiative this summer, which would dictate the direction of our projects.
Our team consisted of the two co-founders and three interns. My responsibilities presided the digital landscape, but I also dabbled in a little bit of everything—my most meaningful projects included the redesign of the website and creating and curating content for social media and the blog. For the redesign, the website used a CMS platform (Shopify), but design options were limited. Because of this, I learned how to code in HMTL and CSS to configure more detailed sections for webpages. For example, the homepage allowed for a dynamic design where one could edit simply by swapping or dropping sections from an available list of design options. However, the rest of the webpages would have no dynamic functionality and thus required hardcoding. This meant becoming acquainted with the open-sourced template language, known as liquid. From there, HTML and CSS could be added accordingly.
I also began to understand web design from the perspective of SEO: I wrote copy to help maximize Google presence and cleaned up the site architecture. To understand the website funnels, I used the help of code trackers that allowed me to observe consumer behavior via recorded video, heatmaps and click maps. This data allowed design to heed functionality by showing heightened areas of consumer interest. SEO background work included keyword research, competitor analysis and performing site audits.
This internship challenged me deeply because I didn’t have a lot of digital knowledge prior to this summer, but being able to learn these technical aspects became very rewarding. Rebecca Allen is a Black-owned brand and given the tumultuous landscape of retail, this summer really brought into question the future of work, the gig economy and the direction of consumer brands. Identity and authenticity are important moral values. Working for a team that really stands for amplifying the voices of women of color—these women are strong and function as their own bosses while standing for their personhood—made me really cement my interests in eventually forging my own path.
Contributing to my art major at Williams, I have found a newfound curiosity towards internet networks and how algorithms are employed to collectively operate across the internet. They can dictate what we witness and experience in our world.
The summer of 2020 presented many new ways of working and learning, challenged me to grow emotionally, and helped strengthen my adaptability and problem-solving. I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity and grateful to Rebecca Allen, the Class of 1966, and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration.