Note From Courtney: We’ve had the most wonderful summer intern this year. We thought it would be fun for her, before she jets off to Paris for a semester abroad, to share some insight into an average day working at SCD.
All artwork created by Isabel Marvel
My name is Isabel and I’ve been the intern at Swiss Cottage Designs this summer. I’m a 20 year old product of Brooklyn, an Art History major at Vassar College, and an illustration enthusiast. Some things I enjoy: days spent at IKEA planning my (affordable) dream home, coffee flavored coconut water (hydrating and energizing), disco music, and paroozing Five & Dime shops. Working at SCD this summer has been such a blast, and I wanted to commemorate it with a post illustrating a typical day at the office:
I wake up early at the crack of dawn like humans were supposed to to maximize the workday. However, two things keep me stationary in my bed. One, I have invested in one of those lovely silk eyes masks that make me feel like I have an upper east side apartment and an income, and Two, my work day officially starts at ten. This is just one of the many perks of being the honorary (the only) intern at Swiss Cottage Designs.
I get to the office, lock up my bike, and smooth down my hair, which, after my morning ride, more closely resembles frizzy fly tape.
Some mornings I arrive in the middle of an account of Sunny’s raccoon groupies, who hang out on her fire escape and have now taken the liberty of slashing through her screen and helping themselves to the vulnerable bowl of cat food. Other mornings Courtney might be discussing people she scooted around while on her morning PW (that’s power-walk for those not in the know). The characters of Brooklyn never cease to amuse, especially the posses of old men who have inconveniently installed themselves on nearby stoops and never fail to make you feel very observed as you weave through them. I’ll tell them stories of my party-throwing dad and his infamous glass bridge, or my latest whirlwind ContainerShop run on my bike: my handlebars balanced out with the voluminous white bags that catch like pregnant sails.
Some slices of office life: Leon Bridges provides a constant musical backdrop, the room is filled with the swoon-worthy scents of Mazola Bakery’s delish blueberry muffins, and condensation covered ice tea drips onto the neatly organized white desks at SCD. Sunny and Courtney occupy themselves by diligently and punctually answering emails, taking phone calls with clients and answering any and all questions and concerns. Their calendars are constantly updated and color-coded. Clients come through to ogle samples, to discuss color palates and dreamy designs, and to come see where all the magic happens.
While they busy themselves with computer programs and client consultations, I fold and tape and crease and line and wrap; the production component of SCD keeping my hands constantly busy. Whenever I’m working at the production table next to the air conditioning, Courtney is quite conscious of my temperature. She knows that, just as earth needs wetting and drying cycles to maintain healthy growth periods, regulating the AC for proper heating & cooling cycles keeps us functional.
I make daily trips down to Omar (Omi, O-man), our shipping savior, who may be seen sporting his “FedEx Ground” T-Shirt that I’m fairly certain is a 90’s JunkFood T.
3rd or 4th iced caf. in hand, (typically I ingest more coffee than water) I return to the office mid-discussion of whether or not the latest project’s proper proportions will offend, and whether or not the featured dog looks like he’s chewing on the flag in a realistic manner. These things matter!
Lunch time appears before we know it, and we break off to make a healthy smoothie or to run to the nearby deli (but really end up inhaling boxes of Nerds and Hi-Chews accompanied by mysteriously irresistible coffee sodas, brought to us by Sunny’s love for Met Food). While we eat, we:
1. Rock out to WFUV radio
2. Talk about latest Young Adult novel obsession
3. Exchange organic beauty product tips
4. Question the weather and whether or not it is Courtney’s “truck” double-parked out front
After satisfactory consumption of our grub comes the unspoken agreement to work diligently for a while before breaking out into a heated debate over Singularity (is Man V. Robot the future???). Soon enough, a piece of either sky or scaffolding crashes onto the air conditioning, and we all briefly make awkward eye contact with the loitering construction workers outside. Back to emailing and designing and whirling ice cubes and lemon rinds, thinking of the next beverage break.
During the past several weeks, I’ve sifted through boxes of old projects and have had the pleasure of seeing the illustrated timeline of Swiss Cottage Designs and the progression of projects and picture presentation. The office, I’m happy to report, is packed into neat brown and orange boxes, labeled and separated by color, pattern (illustrated, bold & graphic), type (flat-printed & letterpress), occasion (save-the-date, invitation, rsvp, day of, etc.). What was already a smoothly sailing ship of a business is now an even more fluid operation with easily-accessible and organized components. As a summer intern, I see what might be viewed as menial organizational tasks, typically delegated to interns, as being very important to the functionality and longevity of a business. It also doesn’t hurt to work with rad people like Courtney and Sunny who make work never a dull moment, for they are constantly conversing and convulsing with laughter, all the while keeping things professional and work-centric. It’s been a wonderful and educational experience and I am very sad to have to leave the lovely office and lovelier people of SCD.
Editors Note: I did not pay her to write this.