By Iris Matulevich -- Our Marketing Intern
My name is Iris Matulevich, and I’ve been interning at Wheelie Creative this summer! I wanted to share with you all who I am and what I’ve been doing here at Wheelie HQ these past three months.
I’m a Business Administration major at Gonzaga University with a concentration in Marketing and minors in English and Entrepreneurial Leadership. Fit that on a diploma! I’m 2 semesters, 40-some credits, and one 50 page thesis from graduating with my BBA and heading off into big, scary place that I’m told is called the “real” world.
Enough about me, let’s talk about Wheelie!
I met Lisa after discovering the Wheelie Creative website and being overwhelmed by the awesome content Wheelie was churning out right here in the valley. I sent Lisa an email to introduce myself and ask if she would meet me for an informational interview. To my surprise, she did! We met over delicious crepes (Lisa’s favorite, I would later find out) and I was inspired by her entrepreneurial drive and creative knowledge. After that meeting, I bugged Lisa for about a year and a half for an internship until she finally said yes! Lesson learned: good things (crepes, for example) come to those who are persistent.
That’s how I ended up here!
My first and largest project was to put together our Camber Exchange event. Camber Exchanges are networking happy hours for people in the outdoor industry, hosted across the country by the non profit organization Camber Outdoors. This was the first Exchange ever hosted in Montana, so we had a lot to prove. I had a little over a month to organize vendors, ask for free beer, make decorations, schedule social media posts and convince people to come out for a fun night of networking. The process involved tons of emails, some couponing, tiki torches, driving all over the valley to put up posters, and spraying layers of dust off the backyard picnic tables. I had never planned an event of this size, and I expected about 20 people to show up. To my great surprise, we had around 50 attendees! It was an incredible night with some inspiring lady speakers and delicious beer. A huge thanks to the Wheelie crew, our speakers, and our amazing vendors for making it a hit event. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did putting it together! You can see all the photos and find out more about the event here.
Another fun task I took on this summer was assisting our project manager Jessica at a photoshoot for GSI Outdoors. We had three shooters and four models, so it was a lot of people to keep happy: the photographers want their shots and the models want to have fun. As far as project management went, our role was to keep everything running smoothly, make sure we got the right shots, avoid wasting daylight, and transition sets smoothly. I helped set up the campsite, watched models on paddleboards to make sure everyone was safe, and carried boards and paddles upriver. When it was time to cook, I chopped veggies, kept models hydrated, poured wine, and hauled river water to the beach to rinse dishes. I found out working photoshoots mostly means moving things out of the background and making bad jokes to keep the models laughing. It was a hectic four hours, but everyone left happy: the models were fed, the photographers got killer shots, and nobody drowned!
I worked on smaller research projects while at Wheelie as well, which I loved because I am a giant nerd. One project I took on was to dig up statistics on women in the outdoor industry and related creative fields. I learned there is a huge lack of female creative directors, adventure photographers, photojournalists, directors, and producers. This may be the reason there’s a lack of female representation in the outdoor industry’s marketing in general, even though women make up 51% of outdoor consumers. Wheelie has some great things coming up to encourage and celebrate badass ladies in the outdoors, a cause I’m passionate about. Who knows, maybe this research will inspire my senior thesis (but I’m trying not to think about that right now!).
It’s been a busy summer, but such a blast. I learned about entrepreneurship, marketing, the outdoor industry, and myself. Lisa showed me that running a business doesn’t have to be boring, and you can turn your passion into your profession. I learned how important it is to stay true to your vibe and work with clients who share the same values and philosophy as you. I was lucky to be a part of Wheelie we opened the second office in Denver, so I could watch the business grow and help promote the Wheelie brand in Colorado.
I also learned about current trends in the outdoor industry and how women are shaking it up. It’s inspiring to see Wheelie and other organizations working to move beyond “shrink it and pink it” and level the playing field in a previously male-dominated industry. As someone who grew up wearing hand-me-down boy’s outdoor gear, I love seeing the industry become more inclusive and accessible.
Overall, I learned what agency life is like. The creative process can be frustrating, whether it’s designing, rebranding, or planning a party, but it’s worth it. We have fun but everyone hustles to get the job done right. The vibrancy and spontaneity of agency culture makes sending emails all day not so bad; I loved the bustle and craziness at Wheelie and I know I belong at an agency versus a corporate environment.
I don’t know a lot of interns that are stoked to go to their internship every day, but I was certainly one of them. Working with the Wheelie crew was better than I imagined it could be, everyone is so nice and fun and good at what they do. Everyone made me feel like I was part of the team, which is pretty incredible. In my opinion, the best offices include good coffee, spontaneous dance parties, Star Wars memorabilia, and dogs. Wheelie has all that and more. Lisa knows what she’s doing when it comes to hiring great people, and I’m #blessed to have been able to spend a summer with these creative hooligans.
Back to school I go, hauling my bike on the back of my Bug and rocking my Wheelie tank top.
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