How I Came To Work At A Mattress Company
December 04, 2017
Author: Josie Sivigny
The most common question you get as a kid is one that begs a lot from your little toddler mind: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” While juggling a doll, Hot Wheels car, and a pint-sized kitchen set, your brain searched for one of a million possibilities. Maybe you declared you’d be a firefighter or a teacher or a rocket scientist or a mailman who also delivers ice cream and puppies, but you rarely, possibly never, hear a diaper-clad tyke exclaim, “I want to work for a mattress company!”
There are countless articles that will tell you what to look for in a job—proper wages, benefits, vacation time, opportunity for growth, the list goes on. A search will pull up pages of fitting options that your parents would sell your soul for, but these days people are searching for more than a paycheck from their employer. One thing that matters to each and every Tuft & Needle member is company culture, a major factor for anyone applying to work for T&N.
So, just how did the Tuft & Needle crew go from firemen and mail/ice cream/puppy deliverers to e-commerce mattress store employees?
Just about every Tuft & Needler will tell you they never pictured themselves working for a mattress company but are thankful that they do. We took to the streets (of our office) to interview some T&N team members to figure out just what makes working at a mattress company their dream job.
How Did You Get Here? Brooke, a member of T&N’s Public Relations team makes it clear, “I knew that I wanted to be a part of a company that I believed in, regardless of what I’d be promoting, and that company culture would be hugely important as well.”
How does a mattress company create and continue to generate culture? The answer is simple—make the company you started a company you would want to work for. Our founders, JT and Daehee, set out to do just that in 2012 when they jumped into the mattress industry.
Members of the Tuft & Needle team are part of an award winning company culture. Seriously. The people who make up this culture are fixers and problem solvers with a drive for helping people. They come from backgrounds that vary from social work and political science, to culinary arts and kitchen cabinet factory management.
When looking at what drove people to fill out the application and submit their resumes, you’ll be hard pressed to find a team member that was searching to enter the mattress industry. Instead, you’ll see that the love of innovating, disrupting, and belonging to an incredible team of people was what attracted our teammates.
A member of the Customer Experience Team at Tuft & Needle, Jon, arrived here after four years of being a pastor. He admits, “Never in a million years did I think I’d work for a mattress company. I found out about this company (and job) through a friend of a friend – she said it was a good working environment and they treated their employees well.”
Brittney, of T&N’s Finance team, says, “It became apparent during my interview process that this was so much more than a mattress company. Real change was happening, and the employees were 100% here for the company and the product. I was excited to even be considered to join, and weirdly very excited to learn more about mattresses.”
Kaitlyn D., who skated with Disney on Ice for a whopping eight years said she was looking for something specific after finally hanging up her skates. “Something I kept an eye out for was the type of business that treated employees well. Since I had a job I loved for so long, it was important to me to enjoy coming to work every day.”
Rachel R. from T&N’s design team comes from a wildly variant background. Rachel wanted to be one of two things growing up- an artist or a road construction worker. She went on to study theology, culinary arts, fine arts, and finally made her way to graphic design. She also sprinkled in bits of time at a hair salon and as a nanny. A jack of all trades, Rachel came to Tuft & Needle after applying for an internship position at the recommendation of her professor, who was an engineer for T&N at the time. She wasn’t at all hesitant to join a mattress company. Mattresses were not the bottom line for her, the team was. “They cultivated a team that was smart, creative, and hard working, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
They all got here. They’re all still here. What keeps them around?
What is “Here” like? Walking into a 100 year old building sounds iffy, but that’s what Tuft & Needle’s employees do every day. The historic Stapley building in downtown Phoenix has been converted into T&N’s headquarters. It provides open air, plenty of natural light, and constant access to brilliant friends all working towards one goal. Yes, you read that right, friends. At Tuft & Needle, coworkers are not just people you wave to twice a day or peek over a cubicle to borrow a stapler from.
We road trip, hike, bike, cook, read, and watch horror movies together. And that’s just Wednesday. We’re allowed, and encouraged, to be ourselves, which leads to great experiences both in and out of the office.
At Tuft & Needle there are dinners organized by the team for the team, gift exchanges just because—even team members that work at remote offices or retail stores are included in social mission activities, events with their teams, and connected via Slack, where we have channels just for fun and for streamlined work.
It’s not all about the looks though, as anyone would tell you. It all comes back to people.
Yeah, Tuft & Needle is a mattress company but it’s not just a mattress company. It’s a problem solving organization that just happens to sell amazing mattresses, a huge problem they’ve been solving for five years now. It’s filled with passionate, smart, and caring people who enjoy coming to work every day.
Gene, of Tuft & Needle’s product team, offers a bigger picture. “I often forget we work in the mattress industry. A lot of what goes on that creates the T&N experience is unrelated to the mattress directly like retail, design, marketing, and developing new products. The fact that we go beyond the mattress is what makes us so great.” Tuft & Needle is a team of teams.
Great people make great culture. They can be found in all types of workplaces and can come from all types of backgrounds. No matter where they come from, the T&N team shares the beliefs and values that everyone wants in a job and it results in satisfied, happy, and hardworking employees. The culture brought people to this mattress company and the culture keeps people here.
The next time you ask a kid what they want to be when they grow up, don’t be surprised if they drop their Legos and confidently reply with a single sentence, “I want to work for a mattress company.”