My internship is not typical since I have already worked in the field of interior design for 18 years. I work for the Pennebaker Enterprises, two brothers who are licensees of 4 Ashley Furniture Homestores in Hattiesburg, McComb, Meridian and Macon Georgia. Ashley Furniture Industries is the number one selling furniture brand in North America and the largest home furniture manufacturer in the world. They sell home furnishings and accessories through two distribution channels: independent furniture dealers and through over 500 Ashley Furniture HomeStore Ashleys has manufacturing and distribution facilities in Wisconsin, Mississippi, California, Pennsylvania, Florida, China, and Vietnam
Since the Pennebaker Enterprises design department was started in August 2014 and is fairly new, I'm going to address the global perspective from my experiences on the sales floor as well as from the design department. I have had our delivery center service clients in Louisiana, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. I have even served clients that live in Missouri and Arizona with design services and furniture for condos in Orange Beach Florida. In both cases I never met the clients nor saw the condo. We communicated by phone and internet and all I had was a floor plan. On commercial projects we order from vendors who probably manufacture overseas although we don't deal directly with any international business.
During the years when I worked for myself I have helped make a Hindu and Buddhist alter, designed around many cultural needs, artifacts and styles. I enjoy learning about other cultures and religions. Being in the buckle of the Bible belt my willingness do design for other regions has met me some scrutiny in the past but I believe that is narrow minded and un-Christian.
On the retail side of the store, where I worked for 2 years prior to my promotion, I have served many nationalities such as Mexican, European, Arabic, Asian and Indian. Occasionally language barriers make the process more difficult but we always find a way, sometimes their children interpret, or the bring a friend, I've even had a translator on the phone. On rare occasions we play charades to communicate the sale. Often they are, immigrants, international students at USM or even doctors that move to the local area. We offer many ways to purchase from the obvious cash, check and credit cards to interest free financing with good credit and even a no credit check financing option and layaway. We are able to offer a purchasing solution to fit anyone's needs.