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Before January, Beth Callies ’04 (Westport, Conn.) had never thought much about sofa slipcovers or designer drapes. But after spending three days with Ellen Kravet Burke ’76, co-owner of Kravet Fabrics Inc., she can speak knowledgeably about both — and about how to manufacture and sell all sorts of home-decor fabrics.

“I didn’t know there were so many parts of a fabric company,” says Callies, an economics and business major who participated in Lafayette’s Alumni Externship program to learn about marketing.

Burke took Callies on a tour of the fourth-generation, family-owned company’s headquarters in Bethpage, N.Y., and introduced her to a variety of employees.

“She showed me every part of the business and how each part focuses on marketing,” says Callies says, who visited the factory and showroom and sat in on meetings that focused on everything from fabric books to Web pages. “There are different people for each step in selling the product.”

“Before I got there, they had a photo shoot for a new ad campaign,” Callies says. “I sat in on a meeting where the marketing people went through the proofs to decide which pictures would be best.”

“She came to me and didn’t know anything about the fabric industry,” Burke says. “We really engulfed her in three days of intense marketing experience.”

By the end of those three days, Burke says, Callies could discuss the business as knowledgeably as an employee with three months of experience.

“It was a rewarding experience for me as well as for her,” Burke says.

Callies, who declared her major after the externship, says the experience convinced her that she wants to make marketing her career.

A graduate of Fairfield High School, Callies is a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority, serving as its philanthropy chair and on its standards board. She is also a lacrosse manager and was a member of the diving team during her freshman year.

Categorized in: Academic News