Having a Nosey With: Hannah Rafter, Founder of The Intern 24/7
Hannah Rafter is the woman behind the much loved website - The Intern 24/7. A website created for fashion interns as a community to discuss all things career and interning related, the platform aims for interns to uplift interns and provide each other with tips and advice to help them on their career journey.
We interviewed Hannah on all things ‘The Intern 24/7’, her role as the founder, and her experiences in the fashion industry.
Hannah, you’re the founder of the extremely successful site for fashion interns, The Intern 24/7. How did you come up with the concept for the website?
The concept really came out of a need. As someone who had interned in the industry myself, I understood the need for accurate, up to date information and advice. Coming out of interning I felt the interning world was not represented properly online. I started sharing my own intern experiences and then it took off from there.
Did you ever think the website would be as successful as it has become?
No! Of course not, I thought I would share almost diary-like entries of all my past internships and when I would write about the final internship I had, it would end. The Intern 24/7 really started as a way to share and remember what I had been through. I never expected anyone to read it, except my mum.
The Intern 24/7 is no longer just a website, it could really be considered as more of a community. How do you feel about that?
I love that. The Intern 24/7 started as my own personal story but it’s now much more than just me. Once I realised that, I wanted to create an environment for people to share their own experiences, a place on the internet full of advice and inspiration for the next generation starting out. Without the engaged community and great writers, we are just a site with a few funny gifs.
What has your personal experience of working/interning in the fashion industry been like?
Pretty great, annoying I know! Would have been a more interesting interview if I hated every second and was mistreated, so sorry about that... It was really great. Of course, challenging, tiring but ultimately, isn’t that what it’s all about? I don’t think you learn anything if it comes easy. I learnt so much about the world of work and myself, it was all worth it. The people really made it.
What was your most difficult experience being a fashion industry intern and how did you overcome it?
I guess the responsibility, when I was interning in New York, being British I felt very out of my depth. I was put in high stress situations and completely felt like a fish out of water. I overcame it by trusting my instincts and not thinking about the environment/who was around too much. I said ‘what’s the worst that can happen’… a lot.
When you were interning, was there anywhere you looked to for guidance?
No, not really! I mainly spoke to managers and other interns! There was nowhere on the internet I felt I could go to. Anywhere that did exist, I didn’t trust. Sadly, at the time, most people talking about interning haven’t interned in a while…
How does it feel now knowing that you have created somewhere for interns to turn to if they need advice or help concerning their career and internships?
Of course, I’m thrilled the site has done well and that people learn from it and feel supported. Social media at times can be a very educational place with so many amazing people teaching and sharing their knowledge. I am so pleased to be a very small part of that. The Intern 24/7 is just my way of giving back to the intern community.
You work with writers from all over the world who provide intern related content for the site. What is it like coordinating with these dedicated women?
Well, they are pretty badass. We all talk on slack (instant messaging for workplaces, it’s great) but we all are very engaged with each other. I hope they treat The Intern 24/7 like their own, it’s a space for them to give back, get writing experience and get their opinions out there. Working with them is a breeze (mainly because they make the site a hell of a lot cooler).
Is there any particular article or interview on the site that sticks out as your favourite? If so, why?
Ahh, that is a tough question and I’m stopping myself from looking for an example. Any article we publish that we get responses to saying it changed someone’s outlook or made them more confident or motivated is always a favourite. I’m not narcissistic enough to favour only my own work.
What is an opportunity you have been given that resulted from The Intern 24/7?
The Intern 24/7 started as a hobby/something to do to hold onto my intern days. The site now feels like a personal passion that I want to keep growing. I think it’s really healthy to have other things to focus on than just your 9-5, therefore I’m grateful to the site for giving me that.
Do you have any exclusive tips for the intern readers of Having a Nosey?
Look alive, stay engaged, think outside the box, focus on your own direction, don’t expect a certain career, be open to opportunities and don’t be so hard on yourself.
Enjoy the good days, the bad days, the horrific days and the best days. You’ll never be so young, free and inspired.
Oh, and laugh. Laugh a lot.