By Anastasia Junelle on 5 October 2022
As I spent my first few weeks of summer in a daze, I decidedly thought it was time to blink myself out of the stupor. That’s when I came across Dia. Dia is a Southeast Asian e-commerce business that curates artisanal products and shares personal stories to champion Southeast Asian culture and creativity. This quite literally checked all the boxes for me: I love being surrounded by creative people and I am passionate to learn about different cultures.
Like footprints in the sand, each step I took during the internship signified my journey during the six weeks I interned at Dia, whether it was making art, animating, attending meetings, or writing entries for the website. As diverse as the tasks were, I found that I enjoyed every moment of everything I created.
Rewind to day one where I sat in front of my desk, clutching my mouse in a deathly grip, waiting to click the “join” button into my very first meeting. After a hearty introduction to the team, I was given the task of familiarizing myself with the different products, which definitely had its challenges, including learning about a variety of artisanal products from different Southeast Asian regions. Part of interning at Dia is attending their pop-up events and I was fortunate enough to attend not one but two of them. One of the many challenges during pop-ups was learning customer service etiquette — ranging from packaging products to explaining the origin of each product eloquently.
As a rising Computer Animation Sophomore, the Dia team took the skills I acquired in school and placed it firsthand when designing my internship experience and what my long term projects would be. Through this, I learned many different sides of what goes into an animation project; from pitching ideas and storyboarding panels to sending in drafts for notes. Having only learned the basic AfterEffects tools, I took the initiative to learn new software for this project, which could inevitably help me in the upcoming year. A memorable late-night feedback session for this project included an hour of brainstorming the structure of the website tour video, resulting in the idea of using the Dia website experience as content.
During the second half of my internship, I was given the chance to come up with a concept for my very first published zine — a summer zine showing off my outfit picks for a tropical summer. I capitalized on my computer graphic knowledge including software such as Procreate, Photoshop, and Canva. As an avid illustrator, I was incredibly excited to create a zine that could not only be lasting but also provide my individual take on the Dia-verse.
The opportunity to explore the different sides of the company, from marketing to finance, has given me invaluable insight into the continued advancement of a start-up e-commerce business. Through observation, another valuable lesson I learned was that having daily check-ins and giving each other feedback is important, as it encourages the team to perform better and improve the overall workflow. Being introduced to the tools they used to track how the products are performing is eye-opening as I got a mini crash course on SEO and Google Analytics. Working in a fast-paced and dynamic environment has allowed me to evaluate my growth through the summer and I was constantly learning and improving to reach higher ground.
One of the biggest takeaways from this internship is to always go in with an open mind and to take up any opportunities thrown my way. I was so grateful to have contributed my skills as an artist to the team.