A Student Intern at a Student Startup

By Kevin Ho ENG’18, Founder of Livedrop

About a month ago, I started my internship at Barring Eyewear, a Philadelphia-based startup that produces high-end affordable sunglasses from innovative materials. I first learned about Barring Eyewear when I pitched alongside its co-founder, Joseph Hwang LPS’15, for the Wharton Venture Initiation Program last fall. Dozens of startups pitched that day, but Barring Eyewear’s stood out to me because while most of the startups were still in the early development stage with little more than an idea and business plan, Barring Eyewear brought in its already manufactured product. A few weeks later at a Weiss Tech House networking event, I recognized Joe from his pitch and reached out to him for advice on my startup, Livedrop. Since then, Joe has acted as a mentor, guiding me through my first year of college as well as providing direction for Livedrop.

Setting up shop at Firefly Music Festival
Setting up shop at Firefly Music Festival.

This summer, Joe has provided me the opportunity to design my own internship at Barring Eyewear. Thus far, I’ve spent most of my time helping Joe pack merchandise into boxes and developing some parts of his e-commerce site. I’ve been assisting Joe in building up awareness of Barring’s social media brand through Instagram publicity.

The highlight of my internship thus far has been selling sunglasses at Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE, where Barring Eyewear had a shop in “The Market.” Every day I helped Joe bring merchandise to our tent, organize inventory, interact with the customers, and tear down the tent at night. Since Barring Eyewear is mostly an online store, it was an invaluable opportunity to educate customers about our product, gather feedback, and hear how much they loved our sunglasses. On the first day, we were a bit worried that another vendor in “The Market” selling similar wooden sunglasses would impact business. However, we were relieved to hear from multiple customers that our sunglasses were more affordable and much higher quality in terms of lenses, frames, and even the hinges. Overall, it was a great experience to connect with 90,000 vibrant music fanatics. Of course, it was also satisfying that we sold out all four days despite tripling our inventory each day!

For the remaining month of my internship, I will be working to spread brand awareness of Barring Eyewear to the West Coast. I hope to utilize the connections I made at a previous internship at the Coalition of Asian Pacific-Islanders in Entertainment, a non-profit that promotes Asians in the film industry, to spread the Barring Eyewear brand to prominent Asian-American actors.

My summer with Barring Eyewear has taught me so much already, from the importance of accepting customer feedback and acting upon it to valuable marketing and branding techniques.  I know this experience will help me with my current startup and other future endeavors.

Headshot smBio: Hailing from Los Angeles, Kevin Ho is a rising sophomore in the Digital Media Design program. Currently, he is co-developing a customizable event finding website called Livedrop as a result of his strong interests in entrepreneurship and computer science. In his free time he enjoys producing videos, playing tennis and discovering new music.