Jamiece, a senior at Dewey Academy and participant in New Door Ventures’s Employment Program, reflected on her internship at Taylor Jay Collection, her love for fashion, the knowledge she’s gained from New Door, and learning to go for what she wants.
Finding New Door Ventures:
Before New Door, I was living in Brentwood/Antioch and there weren’t many opportunities. I had to move out [to Oakland] because my dad got incarcerated. I heard about New Door through Dewey Academy. They had us fill out a form with different life skill options that we could choose, and New Door’s [description] had ‘job’ next to it… I said when I came out to Oakland that I wanted to get a job, and after looking into New Door I knew that this was it!
Being able to come out to Oakland, go to Dewey, see all these organizations that are helping young people to get into jobs that they actually want really opened my eyes. I went in, took the opportunity, and now I’m here!
On the Employment Program:
I really liked life skills workshops. Everything New Door taught us—from taxes, time management, to interviewing skills — were important parts of making a foundation for my adult life..
Beyond learning skills at the workshops, they were also an opportunity to get closer to other students. I got to know them from hearing their experiences with their jobs and learn from them which helped me in my job. I also liked how honest we could be in the workshops. We could be real with each other about our successes and struggles. Another great part of New Door was my case manager, Rhea. She was awesome! Rhea is the best because she helps me stay on top of things. She lets me know everything I need to accomplish, and she helped me with my resume which I had never done before. It feels good that I can be comfortable with Rhea and ask her for help even after finishing the program.
Working at Taylor Jay
My internship was at the Taylor Jay Collection, which is a boutique in downtown Oakland. And I’m still there! The first day I worked there I was nervous the whole time because it was new to me. I hadn’t met Ms. Taylor before my first day, but it turned out to be great. She started me off in inventory so I could get familiar with the clothing and the process. She is a self-taught designer who makes and designs clothing that works for all occasions.
She makes swimsuits as well and let me design and make one. It felt great to be a part of that. I’ve been able to go to events with her; first she was speaking on a panel about being an entrepreneur and times that she’s failed and what she’s learned from that. I helped her set up for the West Coast Craft Fair and be part of a couple photoshoots that they did to market new items. I label all the clothing, water the plants (I brought those plants back to life!), cut fabric, and organize around the studio. She knows fashion is my career path and has really encouraged me to tap into my resources.
At first, I felt like the work was repetitive. She explained that I had to learn about inventory in depth to understand the rest of the business. And now that I’ve done that, I am learning all kinds of things! I am still working at Taylor Jay designs but next I would like to eventually try working another boutique and learn knowledge from them or one day attend a fashion institute.
Lessons Learned and Challenges Faced
The biggest lesson I learned was how to communicate. I am pretty good now, actually much better, but I still need to learn more. Now that I have a job I know I need to be on top of my communication and I feel like I have the tools to improve.
At the one-month review for my internship, my manager let me know she wanted me to ask more questions so I could learn as much as possible, which is what I needed to hear. I was afraid of asking questions at first, so it was good to get reassurance that it was okay to not know things. I now ask more questions and it’s helped me to learn more about the business. Learning this helped me make the most out of my internship. After a while, working repetitive tasks like managing inventory got old. I spoke to my supervisor about having my tasks varied, and she agreed. I ultimately ended up being involved in different jobs and was given more opportunities.
Why should people join New Door?
It will help you with your future. Certain programs that help you with jobs just put you in a random job with no say, but New Door lets you choose where you want to go. New Door prepares you for other strategies to get a next job and sets you up for long-term success.