My name is Aisha Adedayo, and I am a rising sophomore studying Organization & Strategic Management in the Olin School of Business. I am also in the Beyond Boundaries program. This summer, I had the opportunity to intern for Honeymoon Chocolates (HMC) in Clayton, MO as a Marketing & Sales Strategist.
Honeymoon is a bean-to-bar craft chocolate maker that makes honey-sweetened chocolate products with ethically-sourced cacao. Origins include Belize, Haiti, Peru, and Uganda.
Sustainability and ethical practices are an absolute priority at HMC; the small family farms where the cacao originates from are paid fair trade wages, and the packaging and materials used in the store are all compostable.
I’ve gained many skills from my short time at this internship. However, the most valuable is management/entrepreneurial skills. Working at a startup has strengthened my ability to prioritize and self-direct. No single day looks the same, and we are always working simultaneously on multiple projects. Starting on day one, Cam gave us an overview and a list of different issues he would like to tackle. As the weeks went by, we came up with more and more ideas to implement. As we completed tasks, we came up with new ones, adding to our ever-growing list. At times it could get a little overwhelming I made it a point to ask a lot of clarifying questions, like what does this data mean? Where do we go from here? What is the biggest priority? This helped keep things in perspective and avoid burnout/getting overwhelmed. It also helped guide our ideas so we were following a strategy and allocating time and resources on what would drive the most results.
I’ve also learned a lot about myself and the ways that I work best. During the first week at the internship, I made a pretty rigid and consistent daily schedule for myself. I quickly realized that I cannot do the same thing every day. I don’t work best that way. Instead, I switched to making a list of important tasks for the week and changed it up each day, depending on my energy/capacity during that day. Working for Cam has also made me realize that a manager and employee dynamic where there is trust, encouraged feedback, and communication is essential for my productivity. This skill of being able to be self-directed as opposed to waiting for instruction or micro-management is an essential part of entrepreneurship and one that I hope to continue to develop.
Some of the highlights of the work I’ve had the privilege to execute this summer include collaborating on new packaging design to be featured in 20+ store locations across the Midwest, guerrilla marketing tactics that resulted in an 8% conversion rate, collaborating on the development of a shopify-integrated customer loyalty program that resulted in a 12% conversion rate, and the collection of customer reviews to drive future sales.