We recently talked with Tuft & Needle about their philanthropy aspect, but we also wanted to know about the general company culture. We’ve heard good things about the company and after talking with Shula Resendez, part of the Team Experience team at Tuft & Needle, we think you’ll see why!
Tell us about yourself and what drew you to Tuft & Needle.
My name is Shula and I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. I came to Phoenix to attend ASU’s journalism school after studying abroad in Israel for a year. While in school I met my now husband and embarked on a career in social media management. A little over a year ago, a few great friends of mine began their careers at Tuft & Needle and brought this one-of-a-kind company to my attention. They approached me about applying for a role on the Team Experience team, an office curator/event planner/culture keeper. It was right up my alley and I couldn’t have been happier to join a team that was so integral to the company as a whole. The fact that this company dedicates an entire team to making sure their team members are happy and their culture is sustained was something that I didn’t know existed before, and it was the biggest aspect that drew me in.
Is there any meaning behind the Tuft & Needle name?
I think the Tuft & Needle name means many things to each team member. I know that the literal idea for the name came from the production process of the first mattresses made, but for me, our name means we are timeless and modern. It represents that we are more than a single thing (&) but that we always want to stay true to who we are.
T&N is a well-known company, but it started in Phoenix as opposed to California or New York. Why did the cofounders choose Phoenix as their starting point?
When our founders, Daehee Park and JT Marino, came up with the idea of Tuft & Needle they were working at a startup in Silicon Valley. Both had connections to the Valley—Daehee was commuting from Arizona to California and JT was actually born here. When they thought about the company they wanted to build, they realized Phoenix really allowed them to build that company without investors, with a strong talent pool and a lower cost of living than in California.
We were created by two humans who wanted to fix a problem and that serves us at the heart of everything we do.
How would you describe the T&N brand? How does the brand aesthetic come through in your storefronts?
Our brand is simple, straight forward and classic. We aim to have an enduring, time-honored design in everything with our name on it—from the mattress to our offices to our storefronts.
In your opinion, what sets T&N apart from other mattress stores and companies?
I think what sets us apart is that we treat everyone, employees, potential customers and former customers, like real people. We were created by two humans who wanted to fix a problem and that serves us at the heart of everything we do. From the events we throw for our team, to the way we create an experience for our partners, we always bring a human element with a splash of that Tuft & Needle mint.
What kind of company culture would you say T&N has?
The first word that comes to mind is positive. My team works hard to create really positive experiences for every team member. Fortunately, that positivity turns into fun and creates memories and a close-knit T&N family.
What does a typical day look like for you?
We don’t have a typical day, but my favorite day is Monday – And the crowd GASPS! “Mondays?” you say. “YES!” I exclaim, “It is my favorite day at work.”
First of all, I am always excited to get into the office and see how everyone’s weekends were, but it also hosts my favorite T&N activity. Most Mondays, I head into the office and stop at Trader Joe’s on my way in. While there, I get to purchase fun fruits, veggies to slice up, several different kinds of delicious cheese and many other snacks and goodies to bring into the office. After tackling some emails and some office upkeep, I spend the afternoon putting together what is known as Tea Time.
Every Monday, we ring a bell at 3 p.m. and commence Tea Time: a big spread of snacks and treats for the team to enjoy. We invite everyone in the office to stop what they are doing, grab something to eat, and catch up. It gives everyone an opportunity to take a break from their day and simply be with each other. My favorite work compliment is, “Really great Tea Time today, Shula.” Nothing brings a bigger smile to my face.
After some quick clean up and putting away the last tidbits, I wrap everything up and head back to my humble abode in Chanhattan (Chandler).
When it comes to employees, what are 3 characteristics all your coworkers seem to have in common?
I know that every employee at T&N is a maker/creative, they are positive, and they are kind.
We have to ask, do you sleep on a T&N mattress?
I actually do not. Since sleeping on a mattress is a decision that both a hubby & a wife have to make together, we haven’t gotten one yet. We are working on searching for a house though, so we will get one once that move happens.