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Paper, Printing and…Stilettos?

Bethany Fischer

There is nothing that feels better than getting dolled up, putting on a nice dress, and slipping on a gorgeous pair of stiletto heels. You can conquer the world, as long as you are allowed to sit for the majority of the day. Thursday wasn’t one of those days.

Because I’m the new marketing intern, I was scheduled to be in the Education Center with a few clients and the fabulous instructor/marketing services manager, Kurt Ruppel. Wanting to make a good first impression, I wore something that screamed ‘business professional in the making.’ That morning, I woke up, got dressed, put on my most grown up pair of shoes — black stilettos — and walked into my summer internship at IWCO Direct feeling pretty darn good.

Because of Memorial Day and a moved orientation class, the Education Center was going to be my first real taste of IWCO Direct. Since I am new to the industry, the most I knew about the operations of IWCO Direct was that they printed the mail for many well-known companies across the country.

Upon opening the cover of my 117-page packet, however, I discovered that there is a whole other world thriving behind the idea of direct mail in my head. From choosing paper and ink, to litho printing vs flexo printing, and all the way down to the best way to fold a piece of paper. The process was absolutely fascinating and so unbelievably in depth, it’s astonishing how precisely IWCO Direct is able to complete every project.

One third of the way into learning the secrets of the mailing universe, Kurt stopped and said that it was the perfect time to take what we have learned and see it in action. I kid you not, my heart dropped out of my chest. Walking? In these heels? All the way over to CH1? Had I taken orientation, I would have known that wearing sensible shoes is key when adventuring through the production rooms. Unfortunately for me, I wouldn’t hear that sage advice until I took orientation four days later  Walking across the street felt like a death sentence, but I talked myself off the ledge, “It’s only one building. Suck it up, be a woman, and strut your stuff.”

So that’s just what I did, or, at least, I hope I did, when we walked to CH1 and received a full tour, complete with state of the art machines, efficient production teams, and millions of envelopes flying through assembly. It was a sight to be seen and, when it was over, my feet weren’t hurting too bad, which in girl language meant that I could stand without screaming.

Just when I thought I had survived and could sit down, I received another crushing blow. Instead of heading back to my comfy chair in the training room, we were to continue our tour with the production facilities of CH2 and CH3.

Regardless of fashion pains, we pushed on and I was blown away yet again by the beauty of the CH2 production floor. Laser technology, giant rolls of paper, pretty colors swirling off of every machine; they had everything a print master could dream of.

Then, at CH3, we witnessed the lightning speed of packaging machines and the finishing process that pulled together the envelopes and various printed products to create one mail-ready masterpiece. It was so phenomenal it almost made me forget my high heels… almost.

After my extensive runway training, I walked away, or tried to, with an invaluable understanding of just what IWCO Direct is and what it does for its clients. No longer do I see it as that place that makes the mail I sometimes get; it is a place of creativity and production, run by a team of unbelievably talented professionals.

What’s even more exciting, my journey here has just begun!  It’s a thrilling thought that I have three more months to learn everything from marketing to production and all that is in between. I’m ready to dig deeper towards the core that makes IWCO Direct great. So, if you come to do some training on our campus this summer, I just might join you on your learning adventure. It’ll be a lot of fun and this time, I’ll bring flats.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2014/06/06/iwco-direct-internship-experience/
Bethany Fischer


Bethany Fischer

Marketing Intern and Minnesota native who loves music, her family, and anything outside. Currently a sophomore at Drake University in Des Moines, IA. Double major in marketing and management; minor in Spanish. Future plans — music marketing and production.

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