By Taylor Stickles
The Harrington School provides students with real-world experiences to enrich their education and help them learn valuable networking skills. A great example of this is the recent trip Harrington students took to the headquarters of Alex and Ani in Cranston, Rhode Island.
Alex and Ani is a Rhode Island-based jewelry company founded by Carolyn Rafaelian. The company does so much more than sell widely popular bangle bracelets. They are the “original meaning makers” who strive to make a positive impact on the world by giving back to charities and spreading positive energy.
During the visit, Harrington students met with Mark Coleman, vice president of university relations at Alex and Ani and several of his colleagues to learn about digital marketing tools and strategies the company uses to promote its products and culture around the world. These accomplished professionals offered a peak into a prominent and successful corporation and some sage advice for students.
“I’ve never applied for a job in my life, it’s always been through relationships,” Coleman said.
The company does not follow conventional trends. Rather, they incorporate lifestyle trends that fit their culture, such as spirituality and astrological signs. They use analytics to look at reach, loyalty, engagement, and conversions to “know their audience.”
Sarah Viens, a former intern for Alex and Ani who now works full-time for the company as a junior content marketing associate, talked to students about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into producing content for the company’s social media.
“Each platform is a different way of storytelling and has a different audience,” Viens said. “Sometimes, it can even take up to four people to perfect one Instagram photo.”
She also stressed to students the importance of strong writing skills and building a brand name for yourself. She added that Alex and Ani has a team of creative individuals, and the company looks for people who empower others through writing.
“We do a good job being authentic because our story is real,” Coleman said. “We are a meaning company that happens to sell jewelry.”
As a company that promotes positive energy and contribution to charity, Alex and Ani’s jewelry is meant to connect you to the things that are important to you. The company also spreads meaning and inspiration daily through its corporate blog.
Coleman also gave students valuable advice on landing their dream internships and jobs in the future.
“Every time you have a new experience it adds to your library–always collect,” Coleman said. “Grab as much ammunition for yourself as possible.”
Harrington School field trips such as this one provide students with the “ammunition” and valuable experiences they need to succeed.