Cottage Industries: The Concept and the Implementation

As a brief introduction to interning at Anthropologie, I will briefly describe how the store is set up and what the visual arts department is responsible for.  When I first came to Anthropologie, the store was split up into 5 sections located in various areas of the store.  Each section came with a visual concept.  These concepts change several times a year depending on the month and upcoming seasons.  Starting in August, two of the main concepts I was involved with working on were called Fieldhouse and Cottage Industries.  I will be discussing the process of putting together Cottage Industries.

The concept for Cottage Industries was mixing hard with soft.  For example, the soft look of lace mixed together with metal piping and flower prints.  The center piece for this concept is the bed and frame, depicted above. This was constructed using spray paint, piping, sticking lace for the canopy, constructing metal light fixtures and constructing a wooden back piece.  I was involved in this particular project on several levels along with other interns I was working with and the visual arts manager and the display coordinator.  We began with spray painting all the piping we were going to use to construct the frame.  Then, the frame was assembled using the piping and a large wooden structure as the backboard made from ladders and 4X4s.  We then put up the light fixtures.  Next came the floorboards for underneath the bed, which we painted bright white.  The bed was placed on top of the floorboards and the comforter and pillows were assembled and put on the bed.  The final process was the lace canopy, which was constructed and placed by the display coordinator.  This process took about two weeks to complete.

Some interesting things I learned through this long and sometimes painstaking process were that everything gets reused and recycled at this store.  The piping was in store from a display months ago, the boards were from another deconstructed display and repainted, and the wooden structure was taken from pieces of a previous bed frame.  This makes the whole display very cost effective and the only thing that really has to be spent is time and money for paint supplies.  Another thing I learned was how long this process actually takes.  What looks like a simple and straightforward piece actually took about 5 interns and two managers two weeks from start to finish.  There was alot of trial and error, changes made, and finishing touches to take care of.

Overall the final installation looked great and it was gratifying to see it bring Cottage Industries together.


  1. Is your internship based at the Naval Yard headquarters? Does Urban/Anthropologie/Free People take a lot of interns? I think that would be a great place to intern as they do a lot of great creative work, especially online.

  2. My internship is based at the Wayne location for Anthropologie. Each store (including urban/free people) has a visual arts department and an art room in the actual store. Especially around winter and the holiday season, they are always looking for interns. We didn’t do any digital work, it was mostly installation art and handmade arts and crafts to use to design the stores themselves. Even though before I worked mainly in graphic design, it was still a great experience and very much design oriented! I definitely recommend applying for an internship in store.

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