S.F.'s COOLEST Start-Up Offices, Revealed

We all wish we worked in one of those cool, quintessential start-up offices we see on TV (Hooli, we're looking at you). You know, the ones with ping-pong tables, snack rooms, board games, and zany, inexplicable decor. Well, in San Francisco, they're not just the stuff of television myth.
We scoured the city and found three stand-out enterprises that'll give you a serious case of office envy: Wanelo (from "Want, Need, Love"), a digital mall you can curate yourself; Avocados and Coconuts, a boutique production company and content collective; and Social Print Studio, whose Printsagram app will turn your iPhone photos into pretty mementos.
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Fom Social Print's taxidermy wall to Wanelo's piles of giant squishables, and Avocados and Coconuts' treehouse-like loft, it seems these offices were designed to distract their employees from getting anything done. Keep reading to get in on the distraction action yourself. And, maybe start updating your résumé.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY MARIA DEL RIO.
The open and airy seating area at Avocados and Coconuts. Ready for the tour? Let's go!
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Name: Heron Calisch-Dolen
Gig: Production and events manager

Tell us about what you do at Avocados and Coconuts.
"My roll varies a lot day to day, which is probably why I love it so much. On the more traditional side, I essentially help with every logistical element of putting together a video production: booking travel, casting, location scouting, hiring crew, putting together the pre-production books, scheduling, and then, of course, just making sure everything goes smoothly on set. We also rent out our studio space for photo and video shoots and larger events, like corporate parties, so I manage that. On a less traditional day, I can be found planning our next party, making a team dinner or, on one of our many travel jobs, verbally arm wrestling my way through customs."
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY MARIA DEL RIO.
How would you describe Avocados and Coconuts' office culture?
"The culture here is very much a non-office. The space was designed intentionally to feel more like a house, an epic house that is, rather than an office. We figure if you’re going to spend the majority of your waking hours in a space, it should be beautiful, comfortable, and most importantly, filled with the people you enjoy. Until I worked here, I had kind of resigned myself to the fact that work wasn’t necessarily fun. Being a part of this team from day one and watching it grow up has solidified for me that work doesn’t have to be a drag, it can actually be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your life."

What's your favorite design element of the studio?
"My favorite design element of the studio in general is how well the space is used. It is a huge studio, but there is no wasted space. For example, when we moved in, there was a catwalk above the open cyclorama that was essentially just used for storage. Our former art director, Cody Welsh, decided to turn that into a bonus workspace. He built out walls and flooring and turned what was a wasted space into an awesome, light-filled treehouse with three functional workspaces. I also love that our studio is filled with work by our friends. We have drawings by Chase Roselli, tables by Luke Bartels, and a rad feature wall by Black Rabbit Builders. I think what makes a space interesting is having custom elements and nothing is more custom than having it built just for your space by your friends."
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY MARIA DEL RIO.
How would you describe your personal style?
"In one sentence: simple, boho, and a little boyish. Most days, I’m wearing high-waisted jeans with a loose top and flats of some kind. I’m just realizing that a lot of what I wear is reminiscent of what my mom wore at my age. As they say, 'I got it from my momma.' I’m pretty lazy with accessories, and my jewelry is usually limited to a gold bracelet from Half Hitch Goods, a vintage necklace from the General Store, and my grandmother’s engagement ring."
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The editing suites you get to work in are pretty gorgeous! What's your favorite design element of the studio?
"We do a lot of productions all over the world and generally my work begins when the crew gets back from some amazing location. I get a vicarious thrill from working with all the stunning footage but, to be honest, I’d trade our beautiful edit suites for an epic travel location every now and then."

How would you describe your personal style?
"I grew up in New York City, but I have been out here for almost 10 years now and my style has definitely evolved. I still have a bit of an urban edge — lots of black, very high heels — but I tend to soften it more with vintage finds and classic and more feminine pieces. I love getting dressed for work. People here have great style and notice when I step up my game."
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Name: David Bourke
Gig: In-house first AC and camera operator

Tell us about what you do at Avocados and Coconuts:
"At the moment, we are premiering our feature-length documentary A Film About Coffee, so we have been busy organizing everything that goes into screening a film. It is a lot more than you would first think."

How would you describe Avocados and Coconuts' office culture?
"The culture here at Avocados and Coconuts is always buzzing with different creative opportunities. From traveling on a large-scale commercial to sanding down a reclaimed wooden bench, and meeting new and local artists. It's a good space to keep our creativity challenged, yet it is always an open and accepting environment."
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What's your favorite thing about working at Avocados and Coconuts?
"I love working with people that I truly respect personally and professionally. It really works in our team dynamic. For example, although there is a professional hierarchy within the company, it feels dismantled to a point. There has never been a time when an idea or suggestion has been completely dismissed without first considering its potential."

How would you describe your personal style?
"Havaianas in 40 degrees Fahrenheit."
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Name: Ana Orrach
Gig: Post-production producer

Tell us about what you do at Avocados & Coconuts.
"I work as a post-production producer here at A&C. What that means is after a video has been shot, I step in and manage the stages that take a video from raw footage to finished product: editing, coloring, sound design, and sourcing of music and all necessary licensing, all the while keeping our clients well-fed and happy."
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What's your favorite thing about working at Avocados and Coconuts?
"What I love about working here is that it really does feel like a family. We cook and share meals, do yoga after work, and encourage each other's extracurricular creative endeavors. Plus, it's dog-friendly, so I get to bring my girl Jazzy with me."
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY MARIA DEL RIO.
Here's your first look at Social Print Studio's space, also known as the living room of our dreams.
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Name: Sherese Elsey
Gig: Customer service, photography, and Instagram

Tell us about what you do at Social Print Studio.
"I mostly work on customer service, partnerships for social media, and occasionally help out with product photography. Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr are also a part of my jam."
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How would you describe Social Print Studio's office culture?
"Very laid back. It fits the vision more of a studio workspace versus your average cubicle office maze. One of the guys on the agency team, Taymoor, has a dog named Whiskey who has been dubbed the head of human resources for the company."

What is your most memorable moment at Social Print Studio?
"The first week I started working here, Ben, the founder, wore a naked photo of himself on a T-shirt. I knew this was a good sign from the start! We actually sell these now, too."
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY MARIA DEL RIO.
How would you describe your personal style?
"If procrastination was considered a style, that would be it. Getting dressed is usually the last thing I do before I'm out the door."
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Name: Tara Shi
Position: Designer

Tell us about what you do at Social Print Studio.
"I lead our design projects, and since we are still a small group of 20-something, much of my day to day is also about engaging with other people in the space and working together. On the design front, my process involves making things in Illustrator, reading, experimenting, researching, and stashing away bits of books and the Internet for later."
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What exciting project are you working on right now?
"Right now, I'm really excited to be working towards bringing V2 of our Print Studio app into reality. It's one of our biggest design undertakings to date, and has been a sweet time and space to play and learn and try some things."

How would you describe Social Print Studio's office culture?
"Fluid, just like the objects and furniture and people in the space. You will probably notice that everything is shifted dramatically (or slightly) since the last time you remember being here. I also like that it feels very bright."
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How would you describe your personal style?
"I try to keep things simple."
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Names: George Sylvain (left) and Benjamin Lotan (right)
Gigs: Co-founders

Tell us about what you do at Social Print Studio.
GS: "I keep everything moving by getting other people to do work. Like, how I made someone else write these interview answers for me."
BL: "I try to set the vision and the pace of the company. Sometimes I also mop the floor. Whatever it takes to keep things running smooth!"

How would you describe Social Print Studio's office culture?
GS: "Our office culture is best illustrated by the fact that we do all our own cleaning. We don't hire any outside contractors. Once a week, we blast Led Zeppelin and everyone puts on rubber gloves and scrubs the toilets and the inside of the fridge and other gross places. Our office is very cool, but we're a bit embarrassed about how cool it is so we force ourselves to do deliberately unpleasant tasks in it."
BL: "Our office culture is pretty laid back, everyone works in a large, open space, so its easy to get caught up in conversation with people working across the studio on something entirely different. We actually try to move everyone’s physical position around pretty often to keep things dynamic. In a way, we want to reinvent our culture every few months and see what sticks."

What's your favorite thing about working at Social Print Studio?
BL: "My favorite thing about working here is learning a ton, and seeing everyone around me learning. Most of us are doing what we do for the first time, and we are all learning through trial and error. Somehow, this is all working out so far!"

How would you describe your personal style?
GS: "I would describe my personal style as the same as my dad's when he was the same age as me back in the 1970s. I guess it was inevitable."
BL: "I like to keep it simple. A few basic pieces that all look good together. Not being afraid of going for the same look every day. If it works, keep it up."
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY MARIA DEL RIO.
This wall (and slogan!) is fitting, because we want, need, and love Wanelo's space.
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Names: Karen To (right) and Rachel Youens (left)
Gigs: Karen: Head of communications, Rachel: Social commerce strategist

Tell us about what you do at Wanelo.
KT: "As head of communications at Wanelo, my primary job is to tell the world our story. We jokingly call it Team Infiltration."
RY: "I'm the social commerce strategist at Wanelo. I came from working on mobile strategy at Forever 21, and got a keen insight into some of the ways traditional e-commerce is falling short of what people, especially young people, expect from shopping online. It's incredibly exciting to have the permission to totally rethink and rework how we shop online."
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY MARIA DEL RIO.
How would you describe Wanelo's office culture?
KT: "I like to think of us as aggro, fun-loving badasses who are each responsible for the success of the company. I’ve never worked with such a phenomenal team, and it’s crazy to think we’re just a team of 30 people building something that changes the way millions of people shop every day. That’s very empowering, and we all love every minute of it."
RY: "There's something really special about things like communal lunches and weekly drinks; It's a job perk for employees, but I think it ends up actually being an asset to the company. It builds the type of closeness that makes us really invested in helping one another. No one is a stranger."

What's your favorite thing about working at Wanelo?
KT: "Aside from the people I work with every day, my favorite thing is I can’t tell if I’m shopping or working. I’m really lucky. I basically have a dream job because shopping is in my DNA. Some of my fondest childhood memories are going on shopping sprees with my mom, and my sorority nickname was 'Mall Rat.' And, I’m so addicted to Wanelo that I often catch myself using it in the middle of meetings (basically all the time) and I have to stop myself — but damn, it’s so hard!"
RY: "There’s a lot of 'intrapreneurialism.' We have hack days every other Friday where everyone is encouraged to work on projects that excite them or things that they feel are really important. More often than not, these projects end up going live. In fact, the Magic Feed (the home view of Wanelo that shows a magical collection of items based on your previous saves) was born from a hack day. This type of ownership keeps people from being bored and lets them be creative."
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How would you describe your personal style?
KT: "I’d describe my personal style as feminine, but still fun — e.g. I love throwing in a good motorcycle jacket or a bright blue purse with my girly dresses. Just check out my Wanelo page! I also tend to blend a lot of high and low fashion. For example, I’ll wear my new Alaïa shoes with a Forever 21 skirt. When it comes to style and shopping, I just always believe in putting your best foot forward and I believe in quality over quantity, though my closet is overflowing with stuff, so maybe I don’t moderate on quantity too well."
RY: "Barbie has always been one of my fashion icons. I never found her femininity or beauty damaging to me, I just thought it was awesome she could be an astronaut or an ice-cream shop owner and wear a fabulous wardrobe. She inspires me to not compromise my style, femininity, or creativity in a work wardrobe. I hope to never again be employed at a place where a crop top or crazy leggings aren't kosher."
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Name: Sean Flannagan
Gig: VP, product

Tell us about what you do at Wanelo.
"I lead the design and development of features: prioritizing what needs to get done; making sure what gets done provides 'extreme value' for our users; and helping with whatever it takes for Wanelo to grow. Duties can include writing copy, finding cat imagery, running usability tests, designing experiments, recruiting hardcore individuals, documenting what we're doing, analyzing the effects of what we've done, coining phrases, clarifying requirements, answering questions, and questioning answers. My role is to help Wanelo blow users' minds as efficiently and effectively as possible."
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How would you describe Wanelo's office culture?
"Invigorating. There are very smart people here operating at a very high level and taking on a lot of responsibility and ownership, and it's almost like, Are we allowed to have this much fun? It's a company full of builders, and the programming that our engineers do every day, I think, helps sustain a uniquely open and collaborative atmosphere where a lot of knowledge sharing happens. And, squishable stagedives are encouraged."

What's your favorite thing about working at Wanelo?
"I love shaping this thing and watching people out there in the world make it their own. And, I love working with the awesome people I get to work with to make this happen."
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How would you describe your personal style?
"Hardcore normcore, with legit psychedelia beneath the surface. I hate the word normcore, but admit that it works. I'm known to wear sweaters every day of the year (check the #sweaterseveryday hashtag on Wanelo) and own dozens of pairs of Vans in every solid color I can find. In the morning, I decide which sweater and which pair of Vans to wear, based on various internal and external factors. I'm also really into mid-century modern furniture, pre-Internet underground culture, old records, creepy home decor, most things associated with the 1970s, and things made by independent seller friends. See my Wanelo page!"
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Name: Deena Varshavskaya
Gig: The boss

Tell us about what you do at Wanelo.
"I'm the founder and CEO. I started Wanelo because I was always looking for unique products and traditional shopping was too limiting and predictable. Because Wanelo has over 300,000 stores in one place and is about 2000x the size of an average physical mall, it makes it easy to find incredible, unique products and stores, so it scratches my own itch big time. My role at Wanelo is to set our overall roadmap and ensure that we're building this company as aggressively and efficiently as we can."

How would you describe Wanelo's office culture?
"Hardcore professional adult playground. We don't bullshit. We don't waste time. We don't have useless rules. We keep meetings to a minimum and question everything. We're also incredibly ambitious."
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What's your favorite thing about working at Wanelo?
"I'm working with the best people I've ever worked with. I love that people at Wanelo are empowered to do the best work of their lives."

How would you describe your personal style?
"My style is highly eclectic and doesn't easily fit into any single category, which is why I started Wanelo. In my closet, you'll find everything from psychedelic leggings to couture fashion. It's all documented on my Wanelo profile."
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Name: Konstantin Gredeskoul
Gig:: Chief technical officer

Tell us about what you do at Wanelo.
"I run our engineering organization, which includes just about 20 brilliant software engineers. They work on building Wanelo's web site, API, mobile apps on iOS and Android, as well as scaling our infrastructure to support millions of users. I still try to code as much as I can. My role at Wanelo is to make sure that our technology not only supports the ambitious goals we set out to achieve, but also helps our engineers realize their full potential, and perhaps become stars at what they do — if they aren't stars already."

How would you describe Wanelo's office culture?
"Low maintenance, pretty relaxed, yet with one hugely intense mission. There are exceedingly high levels of collaboration and mutual respect. It's a very positive atmosphere, with an incredibly productive team. In engineering, we value natural curiosity and constant learning, and we welcome challenges and are okay with breaking things and supporting each other along the way. We also have some amazing psychedelic furniture, a yoga room, and table tennis."

What's your favorite thing about working at Wanelo?
"This, in order: people, trust, efficiency, and fun. To explain some of these: Trust, for example, is knowing that everyone on your team is capable of solving hard problems and willing to lend a hand when needed. It's the best team I've worked with. And, fun: We take fun very seriously."

How would you describe your personal style?
"I look for a good, slim cut, comfortable fit, and interesting details (such as asymmetry). Some of my favorite brands are Diesel, G by Guess, and smaller designers, but you'll never see me wearing any logo. Unless it's Wanelo's. I wear black and gray a lot, but like to accent my outfits with bright colors occasionally. I have a weakness for salmon pink, and often have that as my hair color, if it isn't silver or bleach blond."
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