Lauren Niehm

Major: Apparel, Merchandising, and Design
Company/Organization: Fashion Tech Kansas City
Company/Organization website:
Destination: Kansas City, Missouri
Timeframe: Summer 2021
Advisor/Coordinator Email: briaj


My responsibilities at Fashion Tech Kansas City (KC) were exciting and quite varied. As an intern at a small apparel product development, consulting, and manufacturing company, my responsibilities included: client consultation and support for apparel company start-ups, apparel production assistance, patterns making and alterations, and development of product prototypes to bring clients’ ideas to life. I also incorporated quality assurance measures in apparel and soft goods products that I developed (individually and collaboratively), created sample products along with spec sheets and technical flats, aided in digital and CAD pattern making, completed grading of patterns for various product categories, and conducted research for materials sourcing. I also collaborated extensively with my supervisor to guide the clients’ learning process in order to help them launch their apparel related business, and conducted competitive SWOT analyses for similar apparel related businesses.


My greatest accomplishment was being able to successfully meet the challenge of working with new products and customer needs every week, and sometimes within a given day. I had to quickly learn and adapt to the technical, material, and construction aspects of each unique project. Understanding the materials, construction techniques, and industrial machines needed for particular applications, is key to creating the best possible end products. My internship truly touched on all aspects of the apparel industry, as well as what it is like to operate one’s own apparel business. This learning experience with Fashion Tech KC validates that I can really put what I’ve learned at Iowa State into practice, and that I can make an impact in the industry with my skill set.

Learning experience

One of the greatest lessons that I learned in my internship experience is that everyone can benefit from getting a new point of view. My supervisor and I constantly shared ideas with each other when working through the product development process. Part of this “lessons learned” process is admitting when you have questions or need some help. Asking questions and seeking input improves the flow of ideas and potential within each project, and helps you to grow personally and professionally.

What advice would you give?

Be proactive and reach out to businesses to see if they would be interested in hosting a summer intern. Sometimes you need to make your own opportunities and not all positions are advertised, especially with small and medium sized companies. That’s what I did for my internship and it was an amazing experience! Smaller companies offer a wide range of learning opportunities and can provide a great internship experience. Ask questions and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Internships are where you’re supposed to learn and you might just find a great mentor in the process!

Career Connections