Stance has slowly cemented themselves as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of socks. Just weeks after being announced as the official sock provider of the NBA, we stopped by the brand’s HQ to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes.
Based in sunny California, Stance’s headquarters is a hub of creativity, built to encourage healthy living and a sense of adventure. The workspace is decorated with palm trees, surfboards and socks, and the building is home to a full-size basketball court, appropriate given their recent sponsorship of the NBA, and a personalized Stance skate bowl that adds to the strong work/life balance. Keeping active is key to the brand’s progression, with surf sessions, volleyball matches and motorbike trips all in a day’s work for the Stance team.
We paid a visit to the studio and spoke with Stance co-founder Ryan Kingman about what it takes to create a successful work environment.
What’s your favorite aspect of your workspace?
There are two primary things that really get me stoked. First, is that we are surrounded by so many different forms of creativity. Whether it’s the art or photography on the walls, the product development or the architecture itself. Second, you’re steps away from complete stress removal. It could be the basketball court, skate bowl, putting green or in-house gym, they all offer an opportunity to stop what you’re doing and distract your mind and body. I’ll often send out a company-wide email to meet on the basketball court at any given time to have an impromptu dodgeball game. People will just start showing up and all of a sudden you have 30+ people ready to rip a few games of dodgeball. You go back to your space with a clear head and a quickened heart rate.
We also encourage group participation off-site as well. There’s a specific organizer for activities such as running, mountain biking, golfing, surfing, snowboarding and so on…all of which are encouraged to do so during “work hours,” if there is such a thing.
Tell us what you do to give the workspace a feeling of community.
We spend an incredible amount of time and energy ensuring that we bring the right kind of people into our brand. We have a set of company values and a definition of our culture, which inevitably bonds us all together. We constantly review these values and address our culture to give ourselves a gut-check on how we’re developing. We blur the lines of work and life so that you don’t feel like being at work is a drag or so that you’re not counting down the hours ’til you get to go be with your friends – you’re already with them.
We work in an environment that is inspiring, invigorating and challenging, but afford ourselves opportunities to interact and participate in each others’ lives. We have the absolute best crew! It is without a doubt the one thing that I’m most proud of as a co-founder. I’ve never been surrounded by a more inspiring, challenging and awesome group of people.
Tell us about your favorite piece of furniture or equipment in the workspace.
I’m not sure if I can pick just one. I’m going to list my top three because they are all equally valued. I’m a bit of a coffee snob and we recently brought in Stumptown Coffee, which we serve exclusively. Along with that relationship came a cold-brew keg tap that ensures we have a constant supply of both hot and cold coffee on hand at any time of the day.
Next would be our department, the Marketing Department, which I head up, and the space we’ve created for it. We’ve just redesigned it to afford ourselves better economy of space and I think it’s pretty kickass. Then there’s the skate bowl. It’s an elevated bowl sitting on top of some shipping containers we use for storage. There’s always a session going on and you never know who you’re going to run into up there. I could go on and on but I’ll leave it at these three for now.
Is there anything specific you do to keep the space inspiring?
Recognizing new opportunities and needs. For instance, we had to move our department and redesign the space to accommodate the people and the process. We made the change and spent the money to make it work. I’d say we’re all pretty stoked on the new space. We also recently added a volleyball net and court so that we could play. There are a handful of collegiate level players that work here and they requested it. While I’m not a particularly good player, terrible to be honest, it’s a lot of fun and gets people interacting together. I’ve been amazed at who I’ll see out there playing…not just employees but visitors and guests. It’s really about a constant evolution.
What role does location play with regards to your space?
It’s really important. I mentioned that we have a lot of off-site activities that we encourage our crew to participate in and since we’re centrally located to so many great things that we can do, it affords us even more great distractions from “work.” Within minutes you can be surfing, mountain biking or running. Grab a handful of people and go for a rip on motorcycles to grab lunch…it’s all good!
If you could add something new or change one thing about the space what would it be?
Jeff Kearl, our Founder and CEO, has a vision for a campus or compound which would afford us the opportunity to get even more radical…that would be great. A wave pool would be pretty fun, too.
Written by Lydia Garnett for Highsnobiety.com