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Featured Female Start-Up: Carla Isabel Carstens of Free Fashion Internships.com

Type the term “fashion internship” into Google, and Ms. Carla Isabel Carstens’s site, freefashioninternships.com is the first to appear. With hundreds of thousands of hits per month thanks to constant postings of fashion internships, the site of this 24-year-old Columbia graduate student and online manager of a jewelry and handbag company has rapidly evolved into the ultimate fashion internship resource. I asked Carla about the site’s creation, her love for fashion, and how YOU can get a fashion internship. But first, here are some of the things you should know before you utilize her site:
Much like the process for applying to any internship, a fashion internship requires you to narrow down your aspirations and decipher how you can apply your skills to those goals. Whether you want to design or work in PR, or anywhere in-between, Lauren Berger of InternQueen.com recommends you identify what you like before you set off to apply. You’ll want to be passionate about the field, especially if it’s an unpaid gig! Hofstra University senior and English major Justine Bottles is a fashion intern at O the Oprah Magazine. She says her daily routines change, but always includes organizing clothes and shoes. “It’s a blast!” she says. Ready to learn more about the fashion internship world? Read on to see what Carla had to say about her site:

Her Campus: How did you come up with the idea for the site?

Carla Isable Carstens: To be honest, I never had the intention of creating a fashion internship resource. I had spent a lot of time searching for my own fashion internships, and I had them all saved in a favorites folder in my web browser. I interned for 3 years straight during my undergraduate years, and checking what other opportunities were currently available was almost an addiction, despite the fact I was currently interning or already had my next internship lined up. One day during my 4th year of college, I began posting the best ones on a blog out of sheer boredom. It had baffled me as to why there wasn’t an existing resource, and paying for an internship service seemed like a rip-off, but I definitely did not start FreeFashionInternships to compete with any existing websites. Next thing you know, a friend of mine recommended my own blog to me after hearing about it from a friend. The rest is history!

HC: What is it about the fashion industry that you love?

CIC: It’s inspiring to be around creative thinkers, and I love working alongside people who are truly passionate about what they do. True dedication and passion for your job is the only thing that will make those long hours bearable. Being surrounded by beautiful jewelry and handbags all day isn’t too bad either…

HC: What do you find the most valuable about a fashion internship/internships in general?

CIC: I think that in the best-case scenario, you learn what the day-to-day functions of your chosen career path are. This can either make you more motivated to pursue a certain career, or make you realize that another sector, or even industry, is a better fit for you. I discovered PR after interning in design, wholesale, and editorial.

HC: Do you have any advice for young college women hoping to create their own website or brand?

CIC: Focus, manage your time wisely, surround yourself with positive people and believe not only in yourself, but in your idea. If there’s a will, there’s a way — I know that’s such a cliché thing to say, but how else am I able to work full-time, go to school part-time, run FFI and still have time to run around like a crazy person with my friends? The world of fashion is fast-paced and exciting – are you ready for it? Sources: Carla Isabel Carstens, FreeFashionInternships.com Justine Bottles, Hofstra University Senior and O the Oprah Magazine intern Lauren Berger of InternQueen.com, http://internqueen.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/get-an-internship-fashion/

Gennifer is the Branded Content Specialist for Her Campus Media. In her role, she manages all sponsored content across platforms including editorial, social, and newsletters. As one of HC's first-ever writers, she previously wrote about career, college life, and more as a national writer during her time at Hofstra University. She also helped launch the How She Got There section, where she interviewed inspiring women in various industries. She lives in New York City.
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