By Genise Choy
SFMade Workforce and Youth Programming Intern
There’s a lot going on inside the Heath Ceramics’s San Francisco building*: Blue Bottle’s café fills the air with the smell of coffee, the Heath tile factory floor hums behind a wall of windows, and to the right is Heath’s expertly curated retail store. But there’s even more upstairs.
On the 2nd floor is the studio of jeweler Julia Turner, where Natalie Galvan, 19, is staining parts for a necklace, sporting blue fingers and a smile. She is one of 30 local youth interning with SFMade member businesses across the city this summer, part of SFMade’s YouthMade program in partnership with United Way of the Bay Area’s Business Pathways.
For Julia, participating was a low-risk way to test what it would be like to hire someone without a jewelry-making background, thereby expanding her potential pool of employees. The intern’s pay and worker’s compensation insurance is provided by United Way.
To make it work, she paired up with SFMade member and Heath tenant James Tucker—whose print shop, The Aesthetic Union, has its own entrance on Alabama Street on the first floor of the building.
They needed someone with some creative instinct and a willingness to get their hands dirty. Natalie was the perfect match.
Natalie has done internships with SFMOMA, the San Francisco Foundation, Williams Sonoma and PG&E. But this internship is different—she gets to make things with her hands. Her internship has also exposed her to other facets inherent to small manufacturing businesses beyond hands-on production, from packaging and retail to customer service and web editing.
When asked if she would ever consider starting her own business after her time with Julia and James, Natalie said, “Prior to this internship, if you were to ask me, I don’t even know where I would begin. But seeing how successful they are…they make it look so easy…Just being able to get a glimpse into that, it’s totally doable.”
For more information about the SFMade YouthMade summer internship program, visit http://sfmade.org/program/youthmade/.
*SFMade helped Heath find it’s San Francisco building in 2011. For more information on SFMade’s Places to Make program, visit http://sfmade.org/program/industrial-real-estate/.