2nd Day of Work Experience at Thompson & Morgan

27/10/15 work experience at Thompson & Morgan

I met Clare Dixey today for the first time, and it shows how we can know a person without meeting them these days due to the ease we can contact them by emails, text or telephone.  So I received another very kind welcome from Clare, who is the manager of the e-commerce department and very busy.  She said today I would be proofreading the new spring 2016 catalogue, so today was different from last week.  I can’t believe how the work provided matches the things I need to learn, what a great placement I landed myself!

I did not work with Sue but instead Clare said I was going to help Chloe, she is part of the  team who creates the catalogues we send out to customers.  And I have had customers who love to call in and tell us we have made a spelling mistake or something isn’t right etc.   with the catalogues.  Anyway she showed me next years catalogue, which was on large A3 pages, with copy after copy attached to each double page, with the item codes on a separate page.

The content had lots of writing in the margins and all over the copies, I was able to see how the magazine had organically grown.  From the first draft you can see that decisions such as certain photos were amended or better photos sought, there were  comments such as ‘this needs more work’ or  ‘this needs rewriting’ or ‘can we move this?’ were a constant in the margins.  I can imagine it gets disheartening when your pride and joy piece of writing or photograph you spent ages finding is dismissed in one foul swoop!  But that is copywriting and photography.  Lots of work goes into these catalogues, this one will go out between Christmas and new year, and it is for the spring 2016 collection of plants.  There were lots of new items and it seems we are filling out our catalogues with lots of new plants breed by T&M.  They are the only retailer in the country who trial  their own plants and breed new types.  I can remember the  Tomtato being a big thing a couple of years ago, with some success, we were all given 2 plants, I gave mine to mother in law as she is much better at gardening than I am, but I am going off topic!

I was discussing the main catalogue which Chloe said is the one which generates lots of revenue.  This is the catalogue which is sent to all our customers and the one that most of the customers look forward to receiving.  I myself have spoken to customers who read the catalogue from cover to cover, they enjoy the little things we put in them, the handy tips and hints etc.  So this is a very important catalogue, which has to be ‘just right’ and it is very important that it is perfect.  So I was given a huge pile of papers and asked to check them thoroughly, so I went through each word and corrected any mistakes, there were a few, stuff such as continuity of using /inches/ instead of /”/ things like that.  Spelling mistakes, the word /Yield/ was spelt wrong. Other things were grammar based, such as  /T&M’s promises to you/ and I think it sounded better as /T&M’s promise to you/ and a word which kept coming up was /weatherproof/ either spelt as two words, or hyphenated and sometimes as one word. Something Diana, my professional writing tutor, had told me is always be consistent so if its spelt as one word it should be this way all through the catalogue.  All the little things I found I wrote  on a word doc with a page number and then put a sticky note on the actual paperwork and also use red pen too.  Lots of ways of saying that i think something is missing or spelt wrong.  However, I felt very picky when doing the proofreading, and felt like apologising to Chloe that I had been so pedantic but she said this is great, she wants someone who can see these things.  So I think I did okay?

I proofread all day, and the day flew past.  I really enjoyed it, I am sure if i had to do it all day long every day i would be so fed up but for a few days I  would be happy to proofread anything.  Was interesting reading other peoples copy of T&M plants, as i have to do this for the copywriting i do for Sue, so it was useful to see what the in-house copywriter puts, and all the other features of the catalogue too.  I have worked at T&M for 2 1/2 years and they have given me so much confidence to go forward and try for other positions.  I have to say T&M have been really good to me, and with the work experience too, I have been extremely lucky.

What a good day, really interesting as it was something i had never done as a job before, it has helped me to  make sure I proofread my essays and copywriting completely and don’t skimp on the proofreading otherwise mistakes can cost me.  Another well filled day where I learnt lots.  Thanks T&M…


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