owning a business

Katelyn Wheeldon: Building Skills in the Real World

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University of Iowa sophomore Katelyn Wheeldon entered the business world long before she entered the Dardis Classroom to Career program. As a student at Sigourney High School, Katelyn, now 18, owned her own gift wrapping service and gift basket sales business through the eSigourney Entrepreneurial Academy for Leadership program. Now Katelyn is building up her network in southeastern Iowa and meeting successful individuals that work or own their own businesses, as well.

Below, Katelyn shares what drives her and how the Dardis internship program is building the foundation for a successful career.

Why did you enroll in the Dardis Classroom to Career internship program?
I wanted real-world experience, and I know that sales is important in any field. You will always be selling something, whether that something is a product, service, idea or yourself. Dardis has given me a solid foundation to build upon, which I can continue to build up long after this summer.

What are your long-term career goals?
I’m really interested in public relations and advertising. The strategies behind ads we see every day are fascinating, and there is so much work that goes into that billboard you see on your way to work or a 30-second commercial that you see on TV.

What was the most valuable information you learned in the Dardis Sales Academy?
I learned so much in the Dardis Sales Academy, but the two things that stick out in my mind are active listening and eye contact. Learning that the number one complaint about salespeople is that they talk too much made me try to ask open-ended questions and listen to my customers. Also, learning how to cut out filler words through eye contact helped me give effective presentations and talk to large groups of people.

What goals do you hope to achieve this summer?
My big goal is the Mexico trip, which is awarded to the interns who meet a goal of sales, but my other goal is to get to the point to where I am presenting the clothing to different people at least five times a day.

Do you have a favorite Dardis product?
I really like the ties. It allows men to bring out a little fun and personality in their wardrobe. Plus, you can always find a tie that goes with a Dardis dress shirt or a previously owned shirt.

What advice do you plan to share with all of your clients?
Socks should match the pants and not the shoes. Also, that dress shirt sleeves should be a little long so that the sleeves stick out of the suit coat a bit.

How do you think your role with Dardis Clothiers will benefit you in the future as you begin your post-college career?
Dardis and Dardis Sales Academy taught me skills that I can use in my future career and even currently in my classes. I have taken a sales class before, but actually being out in the real world selling something is totally different. You have to think on your feet and think of answers that aren’t in a textbook. You are tested every day and in every meeting – not just every few weeks with a fill-in-the-bubble test.

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