Spoonlife: A Big Group of Friends Getting Stuff Done

APR 29, 2016

On my first day working at Spoonflower, I learned our core values of creativity, customer focus, authenticity, resourcefulness, fun, and trust.  These values are exemplified in daily office life.  When you experience the unique, warm atmosphere throughout the office and operations floor it is not hard to understand why The Triangle Business Journal voted Spoonflower one of its 50 Best Places to Work in 2015.

This Halloween the Print Staff made their own costumes and came to work as characters from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. 

One of the best examples of life at Spoonflower is our after-hours beginner sewing class.  Every Spoonflower employee receives an Inspiring Creativity Benefit which enables them to get $100 worth of Spoonflower products every month.  I know! It’s amazing!  You can always tell a fellow member of the Spoonflower family by the stash of fabric they collect.  Although many of our employees are very talented sewists, others come to Spoonflower with lots of ideas of what they would like to do with our fabric but without the know-how to actually make it happen. One employee expressed an interest in an introductory sewing class, and just weeks later they were having their first meeting. Katie Berman, a member of our Print Operations team, stepped up to teach her coworkers who wanted to learn to sew. Katie said “It gives us a chance to get employees excited about what we make here and helps us to keep sparking creativity.”

Jennifer Spanos, co-chair of the Sustainability Committee, makes a draft snake at an employee sew-in.

The sewing class is a wonderful example of Spoonflower’s desire to spread knowledge and creativity.  This can be seen in our support of education and opportunities for more women in technology.  Spoonflower sponsors Girl Develop It, a nonprofit that provides affordable programs for adult women interested in learning web and software development in a judgment-free environment, and our engineers host and teach events for Tech Girlz, a nonprofit that organizes free events geared toward young girls interested in STEM fields.  We also have a scholarship program that sends Spoonflower employees interested in learning to code to The Iron Yard with the goal of joining our engineering team once they complete the program.  Employees at Spoonflower are invited to participate in internal internships to learn more about other departments and expand their career opportunities.  In fact, I am at this very moment an Operations employee interning with our Marketing Department!  Spoonflower also has a Summer of School program every year that allows employees to spend time refreshing their training in our Operations Department so that everyone understands the ends and outs of our production process.

Map of the original planting plan made for the employee garden outside Spoonflower’s front door.

Spoonflower is always striving to make our workplace one full of fun and creativity.  We started our own herb and vegetable garden in front of the office last summer to beautify our space and provide produce for employee lunches, and every Friday, Spoonflower provides lunch for employees to share together.  On a recent Friday, the Sustainability Committee arranged a Spring Cleaning Stuff-Swap.  Employees brought items they no longer needed from their homes and everyone had the chance to look for things they could use.  Everything that was not taken home by employees was donated to the Durham Rescue Mission.

Spoonflower Operations Member Connie Zamorano at her art exhibition, sponsored by Spoonflower

There is an incredibly supportive community of coworkers here at Spoonflower.  Whenever someone has an exciting event outside of work, you will find an enthusiastic group from Spoonflower at their event ready to cheer them on.  Last year, a big crowd from Spoonflower showed up when Connie Zamorano from our Operations Department had a stunning art show called La Chicharra, and we also sponsored several rolls of Peel and Stick wallpaper for the event.  Spoonflower sponsors Redress Raleigh, an eco-conscious fashion show.  We have had several employees participate as designers and coworkers have jumped in as their models for the show! 

My wonderful coworkers showing their support at my show at DSI Comedy Theater.

I can vouch for this enthusiasm. As soon as my coworkers found out that I had a big improv comedy performance coming up, they printed up a banner with a baby picture of me on it and came out to laugh and cheer and make my show a success.

Homemade trophies for the winners of our Employee Chili Cook-Off!

Whether it’s a chili cook-off with options for vegans and meat-lovers alike, a sew-in to teach coworkers to sew draft-snakes to keep their houses warm in the winter, or a Halloween contest where employees can show off their homemade costumes, Spoonflower is a joyful and collaborative community.  It inspires its employees like Katie who teaches the sewing class.  Katie explained, “The culture here at Spoonflower is unlike any I have seen in another workplace. I’m surrounded by people that are wanting to work hard and really care about the products that we’re sending customers while also keeping the workplace light and exciting. It feels like a big group of friends getting stuff done.

About Our Guest Author:
Amy was born and raised in North Carolina and got her degree in American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  In addition to writing for our blog, she works on the operations floor at Spoonflower processing and shipping orders.  Outside of Spoonflower, Amy’s main loves are comedy and her dog Ralphie.  Amy performs and teaches improv comedy as often as she can.  When she gets the time, she also loves to cook, quilt, paint and dance.

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