13 Snaps Of Threadless' Wild & Crazy HQ

For all of you subjected to cramped cubicles and cheesy artwork, we're sorry. While we don't mean to make you jealous, we've found what might just be the coolest office in Chicago. We're talking about Threadless, a local start-up that produces graphic T-shirts from user submissions. What exactly is it that makes this HQ so rad? The artistic employees who are literally given a budget and the amazing creative freedom to decorate the space exactly how they choose. Translation: There's not a single silk plant in sight.
We popped in during a normal workday (office yoga, anyone?) to take some snaps of the staff hanging out working in their inspirational environment. From a graffiti artist who paints interpretations of Threadless designs on the walls to a retro RV parked in the warehouse (you read that right), every single nook and cranny houses something (or someone) ingenious. And for added insight, we grilled the staff on why it's so great to work there (it couldn't possibly have anything to do with thirsty Thursdays…). So, go ahead. Click through. Then update your résumé. We won't tell your boss.
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How did Threadless get its start?
Bob Nanna, marketing manager: "Threadless was first launched in November of 2000 as a thread on an art forum called Dreamless, one hour after the concept was thought up. The thread was an open call for T-shirt designs. The best ones would be printed and sold from Threadless.com, and the artist would get a couple free tees of their designs."

"The idea came up shortly after Jake Nickell (founder and chief community officer) won a T-shirt competition for an event called New Media Underground Festival, which took place in London. Jake thought it would be cool to have an ongoing competition where people could always be submitting T-shirt art, and he and his partner would print the best stuff. So, he then immediately started the thread, asking for their first round of designs!"
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Tell us how the concept works.
BN: "All the T-shirts, iPhone cases, socks, dog beds, and all our other products are sourced from an ongoing open call for product submissions from a worldwide community of amazing artists and designers. Once submitted, the community of more than 2.2 million members cast votes that help Threadless decide which designs become Threadless products."

What have some of the most popular designs been?
BN: "Our most popular designs are The Communist Party, Funkalicious, Doctor Hoo, Infinity MPG, and Mister Mittens’ Big Adventure."
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Why do you love working at Threadless?
Mo McKibbin, front desk and Threadless help team: "The company culture and the people who make it awesome."

How would you describe your style in three words?
MM: "Quirky, thrifty, tomboy."

Mo is wearing Vintage Dee and Cee western wear plaid shirt, Threadless Select life cardigan (a daily staple), Genetic denim black jeans, her dad's slouchy brown hat, her mom's vintage shoes, thrift store Aztec scarf, and a Scarlett Garnett necklace.
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Your offices look wild! What's the idea behind the crazy decor?
BN: "Each department is given a budget and creative freedom to decorate the space how they choose. We also have a graffiti artist who paints interpretations of Threadless designs on the walls."
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What's the working environment like at Threadless?
BN: "It can be like a controlled chaos — but in a good way. We often have to think of creative and odd solutions and promotions because we’re such a unique business. One fun warehouse perk is that after every batch of orders you collect, you request a song to be played. People have fun with that one."
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Why do you love working at Threadless?
Kyle Geib, marketing coordinator:"The opportunity to work within a friendly community of creative, unique, and dedicated individuals."

How would you describe your style in two words?
KG: "Easy and casual."

Kyle is wearing a Threadless zip-up hoodie, Mossimo flannel button-up, Levi 511 jeans, and Clarks shoes.
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What's the workplace philosophy?
BN: "Everyone is encouraged to be creative and artistic. Our motto is 'Make Great Together.' That’s not only our philosophy with our community and the public, but also our internal M.O."

Any fun office policies or rituals?
BN: "We have Thirsty Thursdays every other week, where we gather and drink some Threadless beer and eat pizza. To counteract, we have monthly yoga in our office. We usually have at least one big get-together each month."
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What's the best thing about being an employee at Threadless?
BN: "Working in an environment where you can’t wait to get to work. The people here are fun to be around, so it’s something to be excited about when you wake up every morning."
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Why do you love working at Threadless?
Jennifer Lemasters, photography assistant: "Getting to work with creative, funny, nice people; not having to dress up (I'm really bad at that); and being in an unusual work space."

How would you describe your style in three words? JL: "Dorky, tomboy, dated."

Jennifer is wearing H&M pants and a vintage Pat Benatar shirt.
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What's lunch hour like at the Threadless offices?
BN: "In the winter, the lunch room gets raucous with people. But when the weather is nice, we often grill out or walk to one of the nearby restaurants."
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What does it take to get hired at Threadless?
BN: "Knowing about the culture and community here goes a long way if you’re looking to get hired. Once you have that down, check threadless.com/jobs for openings in your area of expertise."
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What do you love about working at Threadless?
Ross Zietz, product/creative director: "Being surrounded by a bunch of fun, like-minded people. And, it's dog friendly!"

How would you describe your style in three words?
RZ: "Quality over quantity."

Ross is wearing a Gitman vintage shirt, Outlier pants, Reigning Champ hoodie, 1000 Mile boots, four-day scruff.
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Why do you love working at Threadless?
Leah Fagan, product creative for the Threadless, Select, Kids lines: "Angie's candy dish — you can always find something yummy in there!"

How would you describe your style in three words? LF: "Less is more!" [Editor's note: where have we heard that before?]

Leah is wearing a Madewell sweater, Zara jeans, a scarf she bought at a South Korean market, and a pair of boots she scooped up at market in Paris.