I had the privilege to go behind the scenes into one of the most successful and innovative run t-shirt companies in Chicago. I’ve passed the headquarters, located in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago on Madison and Elizabeth, numerous times on my way to the United Center to watch the Chicago Bulls play, and it intrigued me each pass.
Walking up to the front door, I was greeted by a sign that says, “Horray! You are here and we are open”. As I entered into the building the first thing I saw was an old AIRSTREAM stainless steel trailer in the middle of a collage of tshirts, and surrounded by brightly painted walls with designs like a Unicorn shitting a Diamond and a clown puking rainbow on a cat while holding an axe. With a blue felt pool table, crane game and Big Buck Hunter arcade game, I thought to myself, this place was cool! I just walked into a college kid’s fantasy factory.
The warehouse was blasting music while 15-25 employees disguised as hipsters were running through aisle to aisle of shirts stacked to the ceiling, and stuffing envelopes with shirts. This again was pretty damn cool!
Heading up to the office, it was a different scene. The offices were definitely cool and modern, but you could tell this was where business was done. It was awfully quiet, but it was pretty much noon and lunch time. They did have open air offices, with the CMO and CEO sitting amongst the rest of the staff, which I think is a sign of good culture and management. After passing a few of the office pets, I was introduced to the CEO, Thomas Ryan whom I chatted with me on how busy they have been with holiday and the shipping challenges that come with doing a significant amount of international business.
All in all, the office was cool, the culture was fitting to the brand and the productivity was high. Check out some pics I snapped from the lounge below: