Looking Back: A Reflection of My Internship and the Future

Over the past year, I have truly been able to enjoy my time working at Kentucky Lighting.  When I was first seeking the job, I was really just looking for a way to make money and earn some credits for school, but I did not realize how much it would impact my career, my outlook on the workforce, and my experience in Kentucky overall.  Everyone has always been so nice and welcoming there.  Being an intern, it is hard to learn since I was only there 3 days a week.  All of the workers have been super helpful and patient with me, and always been able to go out of their way to help me.  This means a lot, and will influence how I treat my co workers in the future.  When someone new comes in, it is not always easy.  It takes time and patients to be help them learn what they need to learn.  One of the most valuable things that I learned here was that it is important to ask questions when you don’t know something, and always help someone out if they don’t know something.  In a few years, I will start training people of my own at my job, and being an intern has truly given me empathy towards interns, and I will always be sympathetic towards new people and interns in the future.

The other most important thing that I feel I can take away from this internship is customer service.  When in school, it is easy to forget that we are going to be working for a client when we graduate.  Our designs are important, but it is more important to make the customer happy.  Here at Kentucky Lighting, my main task was always to help the customer.  This usually requires a lot of patience.  You can spend hours trying to pick something out for a costumer, for them just to change their minds.  This is the career path that we chose.  This taught me that similar circumstances can happen in the real world.  Things change, and deliverables will change, and as designers we have to be adaptable to any of our clients needs. This is one of the main things that I will take with me to my job in LA and throughout my entire career.  I will always keep in mind that the client comes first, and it is important to assist them in the best way  that we can, if if we don’t agree with what they want.

Below is a photo of Los Angeles, where I will be moving after graduating and starting my new life as a lighting designer.

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Week 15 : The Final Days

My last week at Kentucky lighting proved to be very interesting.  As I talked about last week, there are still a lot of changes going on in our showroom.  Since someone has left, we have now hired two new people.  It is a pleasure meeting the new people and being able to learn and work with someone different.  This also brings some challenges with having to help show them the ropes, and teaching them different things around the showroom.  Sadly, the owner of our company, Mr. Levy, passed away on Tuesday.  This was hard for all of us here in the showroom because he opened the business and made it what it is today.  Even though Kentucky Lighting is a big company, it still has a small family owned feel.  Even with my short time working here, I met him a few times.  He was a very sweet man, who had a lot of ambition and drive to open up his own store.  Kentucky Lighting has been a great success and is one of the top lighting showrooms in Lexington.  There are also two other locations, in Frankfurt and Georgetown Kentucky.  Mr. Levy left  great legacy behind, and a thriving business.

On Saturday the showroom was rather slow.  On slower days it is often time to do some simple tasks.  One of my tasks was to restock the bulb display.  Right by the check-out counter is a large display of many of the light bulbs the we sell.  This is very helpful because a large percentage of our customers just come in to buy light bulbs.  The selection is very versatile.  We primary sell two different types of bulbs, incandescent and LED.  There are many different kinds of incandescent bulbs available.  One of the newer trends in lighting is having fixtures with Edison bulbs.  These are a form of incandescent bulbs, and there are many different types.  We have a whole section on the display dedicated to Edison and vintage looking bulbs.  LED is the new wave of the future in lighting.  LED’s use much less energy, they don’t give off heat, and they last exponentially longer than an incandescent light bulb.  These are great for retrofits, because many of the fixtures we sell do not come with LED’s integrated within them.  This allows customers to use LED bulbs to still get all the great benefits of LED bulbs, with a regular fixture.

Below is a photo of our bulb display in the showroom IMG_4532.jpegIMG_4533.jpeg

Week 14 : Changes

Week 14 was a big week of changes in the Kentucky Lighting showroom.  One of my favorite co-workes, got a new job and left.  This was sad because over the last few months I had really enjoyed working with her. She was very helpful and was always willing to teach me.  Being an intern, there are still a lot of things that I do not know about lighting and product info.  She really helped me to learn, and did not get annoyed or irritated when I asked questions.  She had also lived in Los Angeles before, so she was able to give me some advice about moving there.  I always enjoy meeting new people, and working with new people.  It is a great experience and you are always able to learn so much.  We now have a new person taking her place.  This helps prepare me for the real world because stuff like this happens all the time.  People will always come and go, and it is important to always be willing to work with someone new.  You never know what type of insight working with a different person can bring you.  It is also hard when someone new is hired, because it really throws off the flow of the showroom. Being down one person, means that the other employees have to step up to fill that place.  On Saturday, it was not particularly busy, but it felt like it was.  This is because we were under staffed.

Saturday was a very interesting day in the showroom.  We had many people come in with very odds requests.  The first odd request we got was a man who was designing a shower.  He was looking for 16′ in tape lighting.  Tape lighting is a newer technology that is used for all types of applications. It is made out of thin strip of LED’s that are on a flexible rope-like material.  This makes the tape lighting very flexible and a perfect fit for many locations. The customer was interested in having 16′ total, two lengths of 8′.  He also needed the tape lighting to be RGB, which means that it is color changing.  He was wanting to put blue lighting in his shower.  Not only did he want the thin blue strips of light, he also needed for it to be wet location.  LED fixture can have 3 different rating; dry location, damp location, and wet location.  Dry locations means that it can only work in a dry location, damp locations means that the product can be around water, but cannot be directly submerged, and wet location means that the fixture can be completely submerged in water and still work.  In addition to this, the man also wanted to lights to be on a motion sensor, so they would turn on when you entered the shower.  This seems like it is going to be a very tricked out shower.

Below is an example of blue tape lighting located within a shower. 1.jpg

Week 12: The Review

This week at Kentucky Lighting was very exciting and interesting.  To start off the week, our professor, Lindsey Fay came to do a site visit.  The site visit is apart of the program where the professor comes into the workplace, tours it, and meets the supervisor.  Linsey had been in before in the previous semester, so this time it could be a shortened visit.  Linsey got to meet my co-workers.  Ekiya, Lesia, and Lauren.  Diane, my main supervisor was not in.  She is currently having surgery, and will be out for a few weeks, so Lindsey got to meet our general manager, Paula.  All of my co-workers said very nice things about me which was very nice.  Also, Paula talked about how she would be interested in having another intern from our program.  This works out so great with Kentucky Lighting, because they can always use an extra hand on Saturday’s, and during the middle of the day, and that works great for college students.  Also, they allow me to have a set schedule, which is nice for someone in college as well.  I will definitely be mentioning about the positions to any 2nd or 3rd years that I run into.

Also on Tuesday, we had a customer interested in a Hubbardton Forge fixture.  This is a high end brand that we carry.  Most of our fixtures, we typically keep price tags on, but Hubbardton Forge, we do not.  There was a woman who was interested in one of the lamps.  Similar to last week, this item was not in our pricing catalog.  From there, we had to under go an extensive search to find the lamp.  Without a tag, we do not have a number to search it in our system.  We have to go through all of the product that we have under that manufacture to find it.  Another interesting aspect of this week was our Schonbek collection went on sale.  Schonbek is a manufacture who designs luxury chandeliers.  These are always decked out with crystals.  You can also customize these products by choosing different finishes, and different crystals.  There is even an option to select Swarovski crystals.  For the first time ever, our in-stock items of Schonbek went on sale.  The items were 35% off.  This just shows that any product can go on sale, even the nicest ones.

Below is a photo of the Hubbardton Forge lamp that the customer was interested in.

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Week 11 : New Technology

One of the greatest things about living the the era that we do is all of the new great technology that is around.  So many companies are now taking advantage of all of the great qualities that technology has to offer.  Kentucky lighting has recently taken this step, and added some new technology into the showroom.  Now, there is a big flat screen TV in front of the showroom.  This TV is a great addition because it plays videos of different lights and manufacturers that we offer.  This is helpful because customers an view this, and get a great idea of all of the different items we have to offer.  Also, we got small tablets. These are very helpful when it comes to helping customers because we can quickly show them our website on the tablet.  Before, we would ahead to go back to our desks, and look up different products or specifications, and then print them out, to show the customers.  Now we can simply just show them on the tablet.  This also helps save paper as well.

There has been some interesting clients this week.  One woman came in and was looking at a line called Hubbardton Forge.  This is our most expensive line, and is very high end lighting fixtures.  She said that she needed a new light for her den, and wanted to match her existing fixtures, which were Hubbardton

 

Forge.  She was interested in a fixture, and then began describing to me the type of lamps that she was trying to match.  As she was describing, I realized we had a fixture that might go better.  I took her to the sale area, and the fixture I was thinking of did in fact match her lamps exactly.  She was very interested and decided to purchase the fixture.  This was great because not only did it match better than the original, but this fixture was cheaper as well because it was on sale.

Another interesting client was a man who was interested in a mirror.  He owned a hair salon, and wanted a contemporary mirror that was 4′ wide x 6′ tall.  It was easy to find a mirror tall enough, but the problem was finding a mirror wide enough.  Since he was cutting hair, he didn’t want the reflection to be restricted.  The issues with many of the contemporary mirrors is that they had a design added to the width, making the actual reflection part smaller.  This was an issue, and we spent a lot of time trying to find him the perfect product.  We decided to look through the Uttermost catalog.  Uttermost is a line that makes very nice decorative accents.  They provide things such as lamps, mirrors, paintings, and accessories.  After looking through the catalog, he got some great ideas.

Below are photos of the Hubbarton Forge fixture, and the Uttermost mirror. Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 1.47.37 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-03-30 at 1.48.08 PM.png

Week 10 : After the break

Coming back to Kentucky Lighting after spring break was very interesting.  When I first entered the showroom, I noticed that so much and changed.  One of the main tasks that I have had this semester was to create tags.  This means that we are getting a ton of new product, and having price changes.  There is so much the has changed in the showroom, just within the week that I was gone. Many of the vignettes are different.  They have either been adjusted, or completely changed.  This shows that the showroom is very versatile.  When the customers come in, so many of them always talk about how beautiful the showroom is, and how they always enjoy coming in.  This shows how big of an impact that small changes can make.  Even though I have recognized how different everything is, our customers don’t.  To the customers, the changes in the showroom are really just seamless, and they can’t notice any specific differences, but they know that it looks different.  Updating product is so important in keeping up with the trends.  Most of our customers always admire how the new product, and thats what keeps them coming back.  Some of our customers have been shopping with us for over 30 years.  We have to provide something that is higher end, and that you couldn’t get at Home Depot or on Amazon.

On Thursday, we had a lunch and learn.  I always enjoy lunch and learns because they are a chance to learn about a new product.  This lunch and learn however was about safety at work.  Even though our job is not too strenuous, it is still important to stay safe at work.  When people get injured at work it effects everybody.  Not only does it effect the person who is injured, but it effects the company, and all of the other workers as well.  This is an issues that most companies face.  Even though it seems like we are just selling lights, there are some parts of the job that could prove to possibly give off an injury.  For example, we have to lift many heavy objects.  Also, people have gotten hurt by running into fixtures.  It is our job as designers to make sure the flow of the showroom does not disrupt typical walking patterns.  Even though injuries are not common, it is still helpful to know that safety is important, not just with this position, but my positions in the future.

Below is a photo of our showroom from our website.

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Week 8 : Over Committing

Week 8 was a short week for me at Kentucky Lighting.  I only worked on Tuesday, due to the fact that spring break had begun.  Even though I only worked one shift, there was still very many interesting things that happened in the showroom.  One incidence in particular stood out in my memory.  I had a customer come in who was looking for a number of items.  He usually worked with a sales associate named Lee.  Unfortunately, Lee had retired and moved to the East Coast, so I helped him.  He was looking for 8 PAR20 Led lamps, two bronze LED Pucks, and the smallest transformer that we had.  Many people think that at Kentucky Lighting, all we do is pick out pretty light fixtures, but it is exactly the opposite.  We have tons of clients come in with all types of lighting questions.  Even though we have an electrical side, which houses all of the lighting components, as employees of Kentucky Lighting, we are expected to know just as much.  The PAR20 Led lamps were easy to find, because he had brought one in as an example.  Also, there were plenty in stock so this was very good.  Next, the Pucks were also not too hard to find.  Lastly, we provided him with a 25 volt transformer to go with the pukes.  After verifying that the items were correct with the customer, I began to ring him up.  I am still getting use to working the system, and am not always sure what certain things mean.  As I was trying to ring up the bronze pucks, it was suggesting me to place an order.  When this happens, that means that we do not have the item in stock, but we have would have to order more.  I was confused because I had the two pucks in my hand, so I did not know that we had to order anything. When I asked the question, my co worker explained that this is because the pucks were already committed to another order.  We have tons of phone orders, and orders in advance placed.  This means that the two pucks that I had selected were already committed to another ticket, and could not be sold to this man.  After I explained this to him, he decided to order new ones.  This really taught me the lesson that it is always important to double check when you are not sure of something.  If I had let him walk away with those pucks, there would have been a problem, but by double checking, I was able to avoid that.

Below is a photo of the bronze puck9858-171.jpgs that I was referring to above.