Beckon Ice Cream, Allston, MA
This summer, I was given the opportunity to work at Beckon Ice Cream, a start-up based in Allston, Mass. Beckon Ice Cream produces lactose free ice cream that is made with real dairy. It also uses no gums or stabilizers, no artificial ingredients, and pure cane sugar—resulting in a great tasting, super clean ice cream that is completely lactose free. Most of my job at Beckon this summer was retail sales support, which meant going into stores to check in on the product then doing demos of the products to customers, where I would give pitches just like the one I just gave. Then, one day a week was spent in office. On this day, I would present my findings from my demos to the team and make recommendations for going forward. I was also given time to work on my summer-long project, which I presented to the team on my last day of the internship.
My summer long project was by far the most interesting part of the internship to me. Here, I got to use data analysis to analyze the lasting effects of our demos on a store’s sales. I was given complete freedom to look deeper into whatever parts interested me the most and freedom to present the information however I saw fit. Besides giving me practice in producing my own professional Excel report, I also had the opportunity to produce a professional PowerPoint to present to the group. I found this whole experience very beneficial and I thought it gave me a really good look into the work I want to continue doing. For this project, I used data from the Whole Foods Market sales report. I graphed stores where we did demos against stores where we didn’t do demos and compared our sales across four-week intervals. I found that after a demo, stores that used to be equally preforming would indeed out-sell stores where we did not do a demo for the four weeks following the demo! This is extremely important information as it tells us that our investment in a demo at a store goes longer than just the single day sales of when we are there. It tells us that demos are something that we should continue to invest in, as it is a sure way to increase our sales in stores.
I was also able to use my final presentation to take a deeper dive into my data from my demos all summer. I found a number of interesting statistics that I was able to make recommendations for their future demos. For example, I found that I sold nearly two times as many pints during a period of time in Whole Foods where there was an additional sale on ice cream than when this sale was not active. However, when the sale was not active, I sold equally as many pints in Whole Foods as in Market Basket, a different grocer. I also found that Roche Brothers demos were the least successful in number of samples given out and pints sold, but that there I actually had the highest conversion to sale—that is, number of pints sold for samples given out. All of these things were so interesting to make graphs on and give recommendations based on and my supervisors told me they greatly appreciated my insights, and in fact may even change the format of the final presentation next year to match mine.
One of the best parts of the internship was how small the company is. They have just three full time employees, two of which are the founders of the company, Gwen and Katy. This made for an excellent and extremely supportive environment for my first internship experience. Despite their busy schedules, Gwen and Katy went out of their way to introduce us to the field and their product, and were always willing to answer any questions we might have. They have so much passion and drive for making their product succeed. It was clear the whole summer that whatever work we put in, they were putting in twice as much. I think it takes a really unique person or group of people to make a new product succeed in such a competitive marketplace, and I would say that those two have what it takes.
This internship experience was one that I will never forget. I came into this summer with the goal of clarifying what I really wanted to do with as a math major, as I felt like I had no real experience to back up any decision. With the freedom that I was given in designing and executing my final project, I know now that I am really interested in data analysis and that that is a field that I want to continue to pursue. The founders of the company asked us all what fields we were interested and then made a point of looking out for us for their connections in those fields. Katy was nice enough to connect me with one of her friends who works in data analytics consulting. This friend was so kind and video called with me multiple times to answer all my questions about the industry. It was so helpful for me to speak with someone who has been through it all and really clarifying for me to see the different paths that can be taken to data analysis.
I want to thank Peter and Laurie Thomsen and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for providing me with this entrepreneurial experience. I gained so much real professional experience, made so many lasting connections, and I am leaving with a passion for data analysis. I am so excited to return to Williams with a solid foundation for what I want to pursue. Thank you again for your generosity.