Team Discussing Work

One Message Does Not Fit All: How ThirdLove Built Its Growing Team

ThirdLove is a venture-backed bra and underwear brand headquartered in San Francisco and committed to getting women everywhere – of all shapes, sizes and shades – into better fitting bras. And, as a bra company that’s passionate about fit, we make no exception when it comes to finding the right talent for Team ThirdLove.

If you’re a man or you don’t wear bras, that probably turned you off from reading more. We know, only half of the population wears bras. But we promise, our startup story and recruiting challenges will pique your interest – trust us and keep reading.

Building Teams from Scratch

ThirdLove was started in 2013 when our founders quit their positions at Google and Sequoia Capital to revolutionize the way women shop for bras. If you’ve ever shopped for a bra yourself, you know how uncomfortable it can be walking into a department store with terrible lighting, trying on a bunch of bras that don’t fit well and leaving with a bra or two you’re not that excited about. We set out to change the game.

Along the way, we’ve developed technologies so women can find their size from the comfort of home, created our 24/7 Classics line (and perfected the T-shirt Bra, if we do say so ourselves), and perfected the T-shirt Bra, if we do say so ourselves), been featured in numerous publications such as the New York Times, Inc. Magazine, and WSJ and now have over 80 employees in our brand new San Francisco headquarters. But none of it came easy, and we want to be completely open about the recruiting challenges we’ve faced and how other companies can learn from our journey.

Competing for Talent: How to Differentiate Yourself

We know that ThirdLove is one of thousands of startups in San Francisco and the wider Bay Area. And, we get it – free food is no longer considered an “innovative perk”. Everyone has catered lunches, and most companies in the Bay offer much crazier perks than we can afford to offer. We’re lean, scrappy and count every penny.

We have some pretty amazing perks, including a stocked kitchen, catered lunches, product allotments each quarter, steep employee discounts, in-house chiropractors each month, tons of healthcare options and team outings. But when you’re competing with a bunch of startups who have exactly the same perks as you, you have to get a little crafty and learn how to differentiate yourself.

For us, that means talking about our heavyweight co-founders, investors, and the inspiring leaders we’ve brought on. Nine times out of ten, when people hear the details – that our co-founders are married (yes, married!yes, married), used to work at Google and Sequoia Capital, and then brought on leaders from Gap Inc., FitBit, One Kings Lane and more – they’re listening.

Then, we highlight the ability to make a big impact each and every day, to have creative and innovative ideas and actually accomplish them quickly – no corporate red tape here. In addition to having a real impact on our business, candidates are also excited to learn about our donation program: since 2013, we are proud to have donated over $1 million worth of bras to women in need around the United States. From working closely alongside experienced leaders, to having the ability to make a real difference in women’s lives – these are things that make candidates want to join our team.

In the past 10 months, we’ve grown from a team of 11 to a team of 80, moved into a new office space to accommodate our growth and opened our third office in Chico, California. Our sales are ramping up just as fast (if not faster) if not faster), and we’re expanding into new product lines and categories each month. Growth is probably the most important leading indicator in a company – it means opportunities will continue to present themselves to candidates who join the company now.

[Related: Top 20 Benefits and Perks and Why They Matter]

Tailor Your Message for Your Audience

As an e-commerce startup that is also very involved in the tech space, we straddle two industries: fashion and technology. Over the years, we’ve learned how to use that to our advantage to attract diverse hires from all backgrounds.

For example, when we’re recruiting design or marketing roles, we play up our clout in the fashion space and talk about the fashion publications we’ve been mentioned in, members of our leadership team who left Gap Inc. to join us, and how they can advance their career in e-commerce at ThirdLove.

For engineering roles, we focus on the technology aspects of our company, and how we’re revolutionizing how women shop and size themselves for bras at home. It’s about the opportunity to make an impact on 50% of the population, and very few companies have that reach. It’s all about framing your story in a way that will be interesting and unique to the person receiving it – one message definitely does not fit all.

[Related: Employer Branding Benefits: The ROI of Employer Branding]

Getting Started with Glassdoor

To be transparent, Glassdoor is a new arena for us. We weren’t rapidly hiring before 2016, so it seemed unnecessary to put a lot of effort into hiring channels. As we’ve added dozens of open roles, we’ve learned very quickly how important it is.

Whether we’re on candidate screening calls where a Glassdoor review is brought up, in an interview presentation where a candidate will list perks from our Glassdoor profile as a reason for wanting to work at ThirdLove, or when someone drops “I found you on Glassdoor” in casual conversation, we hear about our profile and reviews often.

To get started, we beefed up our Free Employer Account with as many photos, company details and benefits information as possible. We really wanted to show the faces of the people who work here, beyond just the bras that we’re known for. And, we’ve started focusing on reviews: reading every one that comes in, having our Co-Founder Heidi respond to them all, and taking the feedback that’s surfaced in them seriously.

All in all, our recruiting success has come from a few things: listening to our employees and their feedback, staying true to ourselves, and highlighting the things that truly make our company and team unique.

[Related: Responding to Reviews Builds Trust with Your Candidates]