With COVID-19 came a great deal of loss, however, for many, there was one crucial gain: time. Time for new hobbies, binge-watching that new Netflix series, crafting a specific workout regimen, and so on. In my case, I had a whole lot of time paired with a whole lot of nothing with which to fill it. As summer rolled around, I was still in the same place I was in March until a close friend of mine was leaving for college, leaving her with a need to find a replacement for her summer position. Luckily enough for me, this connection landed me an internship at a mask brand start-up based out of Marblehead, bonrisu.
Like most teens, I had limited work experience. From a retail associate here to an ice cream scooper there, my resume was nothing to get excited about, and yet, thanks to a friend who was going back to school, I weaseled my way into a position for which I had no proper experience. Tip #1 (and I am sure you have heard it 100 times by now), connections matter. I did nothing to seek this position out, nor did I have any relevant qualifications to make me fit for the role. I simply knew someone who knew someone, and with the assistance of right place, right time, I got the role.
For the next two months or so, I was scrambling, trying to grasp what my role was and how I could improve the business. Here comes Tip #2, the tried and true “fake it until you make it.” I managed to finesse my hobby of amateur photography into becoming the primary content producer for the entire company. With some confidence, an old Nikon DSLR, and a sub-par knowledge of light, I managed to have my photos plastered on the website, social media, and in the occasional article.
Tip #3, confidence is key. While there were some projects I knew I did not have the expertise for, there were others that I just took on confidently, followed through with, and hoped for the best possible outcome. Of course, my execution did not always result in success. I make at least one mistake every single day, but for those ten errors, I managed to do one thing right. Tip #4, it is perfectly okay to make mistakes. The second I realized that making mistakes will most likely occur every day, the more at ease I became when facing them. Is it frustrating, sure, but is it the end of the world? Not in the slightest.
I present you with Tip #5, join a start-up. The gift of a start-up environment is that nobody truly knows what they are doing most of the time. Team members come from different backgrounds, with varying experience levels in opposite fields. It is beautiful chaos where nobody fully knows what they are doing, and yet, everyone is doing something and everyone is learning. My boss does this unusual thing occasionally, where he asks me if I enjoy what I do, and if I am happy in my position. While I was initially taken aback by this question, I have answered yes, 100%, every time without fail because since my start date in August up until this moment, I feel that I am learning. From mistakes to success stories, I am continually building upon my experiences and nothing is more valuable than that. I may be only 18, with limited experience, and not even a high school diploma under my belt, but I can confidently say I enjoy what I do every single day I go to work. Can you say the same?
bonrisu is a mask start-up company that is currently based out of Marblehead, MA. We have sold over 12,000 masks and donated over 10,000 reusable face masks to 180+ organizations across 38 states and provinces in the United States and Canada. The company was founded with the intent to help a close friend and tailor of bonrisu’s founder, Herbert Yu, whose tailoring business was suffering due to the pandemic. Helping others and providing more than just a mask to our customers has remained a vital part of bonrisu’s mission since the start. Head to bonrisu.com, Shubie’s (Marblehead), or LIV Outdoor (Salem) to check out our masks and read more about our story.