Icebreaker Reviews

Updated July 22, 2015
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Rob Fyfe
3 Ratings

18 Employee Reviews

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  1. Great global company with some growing pains

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Employee in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Employee in Portland, OR

    I have been working at Icebreaker full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Best people I've worked with. Passionate, committed, love the outdoors, and want to see the company succeed. The leaders in Portland are knowledgeable and professional and support the people here with honesty and integrity. The New Zealand roots are strong and some employees even get the opportunity to travel there.

    Cons

    The company is going through some growing pains, so you need to have perseverance, be willing to work through changes, be positive and have a tough skin.

    Advice to Management

    The product is great, your customers love you, your employees are passionate. Figure out (quickly) your plan and then just make it happen.


  2. Helpful (2)

    Lots of potential but losing it's way

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR

    I have been working at Icebreaker

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Great people, great story, healthy work life balance. I used to really enjoy working here when I first started. People were passionate, knowledgeable, worked hard and played hard. It was all consuming in the best way. Quirky and very hands on, it was a place you could learn a ton and the sky was the limit in terms of what you could achieve. Everything felt possible and we were all on a wild ride together until it all started changing about a year or so ago.

    Cons

    No clear brand direction, tons of turn over, low morale, loss of team culture and overall lots of chaos and confusion through out the brand. Feels like the company has really lost it's way and no one is confident in where we are going to what we are trying to achieve. Talent is walking out the door quickly. Things need to turn around fast.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in your people, get clear on what the brand stands for, simplify processes, consolidate the offices and make one strong passionate team. Time is running out so big decisions and measures need to be actioned quickly before everyone jumps ship.


  3. Dissappointing

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Icebreaker full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Working with some of the most passionate people in the active outdoor clothing industry. A very unique and cool story. Good amount of time away from work. Good discount.

    Cons

    Low morale, layoffs, people quitting every day, and talk of budgets being cut due to negative profit yet some people are traveling all over the place and having big expensive meetings and flaunting it. Once a really fun place to work now its a total drag and with heaps of people leaving or have been laid off its common to hear people wonder if their next or are already looking for new jobs. Sadly having Icebreaker on an application or resume isn't the best thing right now.

    Advice to Management

    Communicate with your teams beyond telling everyone everything is cool and lay out the plan. Hearing that everything is fine but knowing its not is creating lots of distrust. Do us all a favor and let us know before you suddenly go bankrupt and lock the doors.


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  5. Great Global Experience with Fun Atmosphere

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Icebreaker full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Great place to work and get global business experience. The work/life balance is amazing - it fits those seeking to live an active lifestyle. Benefits are great – especially the paid time off. The casual work environment is also a plus. The people and culture are very positive, social and collaborative. Highly talented workforce that is truly passionate about the brand - it’s great to work in the apparel industry for a company that people love and respect.

    Cons

    There are many regional managers that are new to their roles; it seems like everyone is still trying to figure out their jobs in recent reorg.

    Advice to Management

    Ensure there’s focus and relevant priorities. Keep in check on goals and continue to transform. Make decisions that are based on analytical or quantitative research and ensure that the goals set are realistic.


  6. Helpful (5)

    Product Team

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR

    I worked at Icebreaker full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Lovely people in the Portland office, fun, passionate about the outdoors, caring whether they were Americans or Kiwi. - Informal culture, Leed building, Portland is awesome. Trips to NZ even better. - Their values on paper are great.

    Cons

    - Often inappropriate behavior (play whipping, forced drinking, costume parties, sexist/racist jokes), unless you like Kiwi sense of humor or get off on frat parties. Also the interview/hiring process may break several employment/discrimination laws, so they are ripe for lawsuits. - Founder is an ego-maniac who hires good people but insults/berates them with ignorant, self-centered tirades and condescending rants. He believes his own hype about being a merino messiah (whatever that is) and is BFF's with Deepak Chopra. However, he clearly lacks self-awareness and good taste. This overgrown adolescence shows up in the corporate culture as being led by aging/dated rebels, undisciplined structure, and bad leadership models. - There was a moment of good styles coming out of this brand....whhhhhhaaaat happened? Looks like a hot mess now...their website appears very amateur and cheap for really expensive clothes. The company knows nothing about sourcing and production so the quality is degrading rapidly.

    Advice to Management

    Save the Brand. Sell the company. Boot JM.


  7. Helpful (1)

    A company with growing pains that is beginning to lose touch with its environmental ethics

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Associate
    Current Employee - Sales Associate

    I have been working at Icebreaker part-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Great Products to Sell Generous clothing allowance for employees Good management at the store level

    Cons

    Very Poor management at the top No ability to move up Quality and Environmental Ethics are beginning to slip

    Advice to Management

    Be more organized especially in regards to restocking stores. Stop blaming the stores for poor sales when it is managements fault that products are not performing well, due to lack of organization at the top and poor color and design selection for the products.


  8. Helpful (2)

    Great company, needs more vision

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Icebreaker

    Negative Outlook
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Great people to work with, good teamwork and friendship, coffee and drinks, awesome products.

    Cons

    A little disorganized, lack of clarity around situations or upcoming gates

    Advice to Management

    Lack of vision about what the company stands for, no insights into forward planning and future innovations.


  9. Helpful (5)

    Toxic Culture

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Key Holder
    Former Employee - Key Holder

    I worked at Icebreaker

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Good benefits (if you're full time), and the company gives you a generous allotment for the uniform twice yearly. The employee discount is also pretty generous. The team I worked with at my location was really great, great attitude and atmosphere. I also learned a lot about customer service, selling, visuals, and made a lot of friends at my store. And despite that I wasn't getting paid appropriately, I learned a lot of valuable things about managing. The products are also really great and of good quality. I genuinely mean it when I say I enjoyed sharing Icebreaker's story with customers and selling them the best product for their needs. I just didn't like it that my superiors were valuing money over these relationships.

    Cons

    Despite the fact that Icebreaker is 20 years old, the company and those within it behave as though they've never run a company before. What little organization there is is constantly undermined by changing management and changing job descriptions. I worked at the company for over two years, and in that time we changed CEOs, went through 4 district managers, (two quit, two fired), and each US based store went through at least one manager, and in some locations, as many as three. Only a few of these departures were genial...most people either quit out of frustration or were fired. I actually think I worked at my store longer as a sales associate than most people in our US corporate office. Retail generally has a high turn-over rate, but when you're able to hang on to associates longer than those in your corporate office, it says something bad about your culture and hiring practices. There is also no clearly defined hierarchy within the company. The definitions of the roles change approximately quarterly. Within the store, key holders are expected to act in management positions without compensation. They will claim it is a part of your job to manage other employees but will avoid paying you for that position. Full-time key holders regularly act as either assistant managers or, increasingly (as managers jump ship) as managers, since it takes the company 1-2 months to hire a replacement. The DMs regularly pass on projects to managers, so that managers don't have time to actually manage their employees but are rather constantly filling out paperwork or on conference calls. If there is one lesson I learned while working at Icebreaker, it's that if they can get away without paying you, they won't. There is a lot of pressure to make money and a huge focus on monetary goals. The attitude is that if a goal isn't achieved, then it's squarely your fault, and you can expect berating phone calls from upper management interrogating you about what you did wrong. These phone calls can last from ten minutes to an hour. There are a lot of directions to try certain selling behaviors, but a refusal to listen to feedback when these behaviors are ineffective. Corporate employees are also very rude. They ignore sales associates and will leave the store for hours on visits to eat lunch with the manager, while you can't go on a lunch break because you've been left alone in the store. I was once told to "just eat my sandwich by the cash wrap" in one of these instances. Apparently, they were unbothered by the illegality of working on breaks or not receiving a break. They also have a generally condescending attitude, which is really insulting since I was expected to act as a manager countless times, yet never once received recognition for my efforts by anyone in the office. They will expect you to work above your station, but not act above your station. Worst of all, they will string you along. I was often promised various promotions or raises, but these hardly ever came through. When I was finally given a raise, it came 6 months after it was first promised. There's also really no review process, so things just stay as they are. I filled out a very long review detailing my grievances with the company. It was so angrily written that I thought I might get fired for it. But I got no response. I'm convinced nobody read it. There is no room for advancement within this company. Trust me, I tried multiple times. They will make promises to trick you into staying and tell you you are valuable and play with your emotions, but you'll never see anything for it. Then they will disrespect you and treat you like a low level associate despite that you've been bending over backwards for them and working above your pay grade. Simply put, this company doesn't know what they are doing. They don't know how to manage, they don't know how to respect their employees, and they don't understand basic marketing and will instead berate employees about lack of sales. Trust me, selling will on a 90 degree day isn't easy, but you will be told the lack of sales has nothing to do with the weather, but rather your failure as a seller. And when you do manage to work magic on the sales floor and make a huge sale, nobody really wants to hear about it. The company is focused on failure rather than success, has a way of making its employees feel small, and an utter lack of character. It's working for a corporate machine at its finest. This job will suck out your soul. Stay away.

    Advice to Management

    Please define your hierarchy clearly. Never ask associates to perform tasks above their pay grade -- this will only lead to bitterness and resentment. If someone is expected to perform certain tasks, make that clear at the start and pay them accordingly. Also, please stop treating your employees like automatons. Especially store managers. There's a reason you've lost so many recently. And please, please, please, just pull yourselves together. The number of silly mistakes made on a weekly basis (wrong signage shipped to the store, defective product ignored, shipments lost, communication errors, lack of communication, maintenance issues ignored, I could go on...) was overwhelming and laughable.


  10. Helpful (2)

    Enjoyable job but keep a rainy day savings because you will probably be laid off.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Marketing in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Marketing in Portland, OR

    I worked at Icebreaker full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great people, great atmosphere, fun product to work on/sell. Large liquor cabinet in corporate HQs which equals fun parties.

    Cons

    The management seems to feel their way through growth blindly, and most often has to lay off entire teams of people and move teams from one city to another (or one country to another) to achieve their growth goals. I saw teams of people being laid off before my layoff and know of lots of layoffs that have happened since my ties were severed. They do not value commitment from employees and do not give any reason to want to be loyal to the Icebreaker family. Icebreaker also values partying a lot, and if you don't enjoy drinking a lot you might get shunned as being "anti-social" if you are not careful.


  11. Great ideals, poor structure

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Icebreaker

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Discounted apparel, people, friendly Kiwis

    Cons

    No structure or drive to improve



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