I got a sneak peek at Barker when I visited them with a group of students on Wednesday April 8th as a part of the Gotham Tours series held during #careerweek by the Career Ambassadors. It was awesome and we learned a lot about what the company is up to and what they are looking for in their interns.
As we walked into the office, you could see the attention to detail everywhere. The elements of design and branding that we saw carefully placed throughout the entire tour speak to Barker’s aesthetic and goals. From the color scheme to the fantastic chandelier, it was clear that Barker takes their branding very seriously. First on our list was a tour of the office space -- just amazing. The office was designed for collaboration with its open work spaces and lack of cubicles. As we walked upstairs to the second floor, many of us had our eyes glued to the intricate chandelier and then saw even more space for collaboration and the kitchen space.
We sat down to chat with Sandi Harari (SVP, Creative Director), Jennifer Schwartz (Associate Creative Director) and Yimeng Bai (Associate Creative Director). Sandi described Barker as an integrated agency where people work across different mediums and work vertically, not just horizontally. We saw this in the discussions about what campaigns they undertake and the various elements that are incorporated in the strategies that are produced. They look to take on projects where they can make an impact, like they did with the luxury bed for Hästens. The campaigns they develop are highly strategic and ask big questions at the beginning that influence their work.
One student asked about their process of using freelancers, as we got to see some of the work the agency has created. They are always keeping an eye out for talent and source freelancers from multiple places. When discussing what they look for in adding talent, they are seeking generalists with great aesthetic skills who can assess the strategic goals of their objective. One element that Sandi mentioned which was echoed by both Jennifer and Yimeng was cultural fit and attitude -- you need to be able to get things done on your own without someone looking over your shoulder.
The aesthetic at Barker is fresh and forward leaning. Every day is reprioritized and you are constantly doing something new. As an employee, you have the chance to show how great you are by constantly adding value to the work that is done. Interns are treated just like everyone else and are a part of the team -- no coffee fetching here.
Good news: Barker hires many of their interns! The company is looking for people who have just graduated to intern and want them to intern five days a week, which really provides the opportunity to be enveloped in the creative process and mesh with their aesthetics and goals. Be prepared to pivot and change gears as you asked to work on different projects in various capacities. A piece of advice we heard was to be malleable and fit in where you need to. That is certainly true for all employment situations -- flexibility is important.
We did get a sneak peek at an up-and-coming project that will be released in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout for some new projects from Barker. To be a part of these awesome events, keep an eye out for our upcoming Gotham Tour series in the Fall 2015 semester. Updates and news will be available on the Career Ambassador Facebook page, so add them as a friend!
Written by: Emilie Buse
Images by: Emilie Buse