Cruzing Chicagoland: Threadless Headquarters

I had heard that the Chicago headquarters of the Threadless T-shirt company is one of those epic, must-see places. I’ve seen a couple of pictures in magazine features about it, and was thrilled to take a ride over there in the 2011 Chevy Cruze that General Motors loaned me for a week (Disclosure: GM is the major sponsor of my Chicago book launch event), to record a tour for your enjoyment.

What struck me about the headquarters is how extremely laid-back the place was, even way more than I expected. The place exudes a vibe of “Fun” rather than “Work”, and had I not actually witnessed employees busily doing their jobs during my visit, I would have wondered if anything ever gets done there (but truly, it does!). There is a great sense of teamwork at Threadless, too, and if you’ve ever worked for a company in which it seems like everyone is working against each other instead of with each other, you would appreciate this as much as I did.

Threadless headquarters, like the shirts it sells, is funky, loud, colorful, and somewhat indescribable. Speaking of those shirts, they’re all produced by crowd sourcing. What does that mean? I’ll tell you. Anyone can create a shirt design (even you!) and upload it to the website (after registering, that is). The design goes through a period of critique and voting by other Threadless members. The designer can make suggested changes throughout the process, and the designs that end up with the highest votes and most positive feedback get chosen for printing. The designer then gets $2000 cash, $500 in Threadless gift credit, and $500 every time the shirt is reprinted. For more info on submitting a design, click here.

My favorite parts of Threadless headquarters? Too many to list. Just watch.