Internship Highlight: Chantal Efrat

Internship Highlight: Chantal Efrat

Pascack Hills senior Chantal Efrat has never been a conventional learner. Having spent a semester of her sophomore year studying abroad in Israel, Chantal is all about being adventurous and doing things outside of the box. When Chantal learned about the district’s Internship Program in her junior year, she knew it was the perfect opportunity to step out of her comfort zone and venture out into the real world to learn more about one of her true passions: interior design. 

Chantal currently interns at Coco Curtain Studio & Interior Design located in Ridgewood, NJ. The studio focuses on window treatments, home consultations and renovations. In addition, Coco Interior Designs also sells a number of products online and in the store, including mirrors, paintings, lamps, ceiling mounts, decorative furniture, patterned wall art and more. Chantal’s mentor is Lisa Ontiveros, owner of the studio. She has mentored PVRHSD interns for four years. 

“We get excited when someone's interested in interior design, and we're very happy to teach them about the business. There's a lot to it,” Lisa said. “I think it's really good when someone's interested in something and we give them an opportunity to experience it. They really find out for sure before they head on to college, whether that is the right path for them.”

When Chantal first started interning at the studio, she was cautious around Lisa and the other female interior designers because she wanted to leave a good first impression for the “strong minded” women in the studio. 

“I was super intimidated [at the start of my internship]. Normally, there's three women in the office the whole time, and they’re all girl-bosses. They’re all strong minded and independent which is what I aspire to be, so it’s great working with them but it was a little intimidating at first,” Chantal said. 

At the beginning of her internship, Chantal’s main responsibility was to source for fabrics.  Chantal would work with clients, research the different fabrics and offer design options. As the year progressed, Chantal became responsible for pricing out the fabric and confirming available stock. As she gained more experience, she was welcomed into meetings with the designers and sales representatives to learn more about the products they sell in the store.

“I didn’t even know that much about interior design before [internship]. I learned a lot about the behind the scenes aspect of it. I also learned about how to deal with other people in the office and customers,” Chantal said. “Seeing Lisa talk to her clients and other people and understanding how important it is to maintain professional relationships is another thing I’ve learned.”

Lisa said she was glad to have Chantal as an intern because she enjoys sharing the interior design process with interested students. As a mentor, Lisa said that she tries her best to expose every facet of her business to her interns so they know what is expected of them in the future should they choose this career.

“[Chantal] is a very mature, focused, intelligent young woman who is really interested in learning what we do. Right from the get go, she was willing to offer suggestions, which we're always open to,” Lisa said. “Whenever she was taking care of something and saw a better way to do it, she would come up with a suggestion for a better path, and we really appreciate that.”

After high school, Chantal plans to join the Israel Defense Force. After two years, she plans to attend Drexel University as an interior design major.  Her internship experience has helped her determine that she wants to own an interior design boutique and become a girl boss!

Chantal in the office

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