Everything Will Get Done

Three weeks in and the transition from American to Italian working culture is still difficult to get used to at times. In America, everything is go, go, go; the longer and faster you work, the more dedicated and successful you appear. In Florence, the pace and structure is much different. There is no need to work crazy hours or kill yourself over a deadline to prove yourself or to get tasks done. You can relax and enjoy the work you’re doing because it will still get done in the end. This has been one lesson that has transformed the way I think about my work.

            During this fall semester, I am working for Tornabuoni, which is an Italian leather goods store. I, along with a fellow Pitt student, am working on their sales and marketing activities. Our daily tasks include updating and editing their website and blog, creating and editing content for their social media platforms, tracking data analytics on their social platforms, and helping with in-store sales activities. 


A big component of this job is understanding your audience. Working day in and day out surrounded by Italians, as well as tourists, helps me to get a better understanding of what our clientele is looking for. Italians seem to be more particular about what they are buying, ensuring it is high quality and reliable (and expensive). Portraying the elegance and luxurious side of the brand online is one aspect we aim to capture in our work. Fellow American, or English-speaking tourists, love to chat with fellow American/English speaking employees to learn more about us and how we ended up working in the store. 

            Because of this, a critical characteristic that is needed to work in this job is communication skills, as well as having an open mindset. It is much more beneficial to be conversational with customers than it is to seem standoffish. The more you engage with the customers, the more likely it is that they will buy the product. It is also critical in learning more about your target market and what they look for, so that we can capture those sought after aspects on their social media platforms. Ask questions and don’t get offended when a customer is ‘difficult’, that very well might just be their culture. 

A large part of our work is walking around Florence looking for the perfect location to shoot content photos. For this, you must have a good eye for aesthetics and know what to shoot to capture an audience’s eye. This may seem as though it is all fun and no work but it takes up a lot of time and requires skill to get the perfect shot. One aspect I’ve noticed in the Italian structure, academically and professionally, is the lack of instruction or guidance given. Our boss also lets us have free reign when it comes to content creation and leaving the store to shoot, whereas our boss at home may have been stricter about timing, and the exact content and edits to be done. This dynamic allows us more creative freedom to shoot exactly what we envision without external forces ruining our ideas. 

            My experience here has taught me some valuable insights already. First, there is no need to kill yourself over deadlines or working overtime, everything will get done exactly when it needs to be. Second, my boss, as well as my professors, give minimal instructions for assignments to allow us to create our own ways of doing things instead of standardizing tasks. This allows for our creative expression, intelligence, and skill to show through (without the need for the overtime).  I have been stuck in a rut creatively before coming here; my writing and drawing has been put on the backburner and all the photos and video content I was taking was subpar. Now, I feel inspired to get back into my flow of creativity and it is only the third week. I am excited to see what the rest of the semester brings! 

PS: If you want a look at our work with Tornabuoni, check out their Instagram @tornabuonituscany!